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SONiA - No Bomb Is Smart

No Bomb Is Smart

SONiA

disappear records (CD1009)

disappear records
P.O. Box 10435
Baltimore, MD 21209
410-372-0807
fax 410-372-0251
tdi17@aol.com

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By David Schultz (schultz@alum.mit.edu)

SONiA is one half of the folk duo disappear fear and its principal songwriter. Although bandmate Cindy Frank chose full-time motherhood rather than touring, SONiA continues on her own, releasing her ninth album "No Bomb is Smart." That's not to say their wonderful harmonies are not heard anymore, as Cindy's vocals appear on this album. SONiA has been an outspoken singer-songwriter, picking fights with political and social injustice. No Bomb is Smart is no different in that respect.

The centerpiece of No Bomb is Smart are the pair of political Songs I Am The Enemy and the title song. In I Am The Enemy, SONiA reminds us that ultimately we are all responsible for funding American domination overseas. The answer comes in the next song where she says, "I'm singing real loud, 'cause I'm not going to watch this silently in pain."

Socially, SONiA tackles the senselessness of violence in Rio's Home and the impact this can have on families. The song also reminds us how the next victim of street crime could be one of us.

SONiA also knows how to write love-gone-bad songs. Consider the mid-album trilogy of Bucket of Blues, Obviously, and Ride This Ride. Bucket of Blues begins with the narrator trying to turn a friendship to love, but being ignored and rebuffed. It contains one of the cleverest rhymes I've heard in a while:
"Well, I drove down to Philadelphia
Must have been hell for ya."

Obviously finds the narrator in a live-in relationship with the same person who ignores her, postulating leaving. Finally, in Ride this Ride, she seems content to be in a disfunctional, physical relationship at the expense of her better judgement, singing "I'm gonna ride this ride just as long as I can."

Like disappear fear's eponymous 1994 Rounder debut, No Bomb is Smart is produced by Craig Krampf and has a Phil Ochs song on it (Is There Anybody Here? in 1994, No More Songs in 2004). No Bomb is Smart is reminsicent of this earlier work and will be enjoyed by those who enjoy smart, melodic, socially conscious acoustic music.

Track Listing:

  • No More Songs*
  • Sugarcane
  • Gangsters of Love
  • Won't Let Go
  • I am the Enemy
  • No Bomb is Smart
  • Bucket of Blues
  • Obviously
  • Ride This Ride
  • The Other Man
  • Rio's Home
  • A Different Star
All songs written by Sonia Rutstein, except *, written by Phil Ochs.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society and David Schultz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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