Homespun Syna So Pro make two people happy

(make two people happy)

Oct 7, 2009 at 4:00 am

Syna So Pro is the solo project from Syrhea Conaway, a musician best known as the bassist/vocalist for local shoegazers Stella Mora. On her first solo outing, however, she takes on a variety of instruments herself — resulting in classical-inspired violin passages, skyscraping guitar chords and layered harmonies where Conaway is singing with herself. Make two people happy is very much an album, meant to be experienced in sequence: These twelve songs are stitched together not with overt messages or recurring themes but with subtle, borderless dynamics, which give the disc a dreamlike quality.

As befits someone coming from the swirling, amorphous world of shoegaze, the first few songs have so much gauzy, ambient set-dressing that it's hard to make out Conaway's words. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; the vocals melt into the rest of the instrumentation to create plangent sheets of sound. The multi-tracked vocals on "Idiocracy" are so light and airy that they sound plucked from a choir loft at a Latin Mass. (She revisits this stunning one woman/many voices technique on the album-closing "May Song.") However, the dreamy haze that cloaks much of the album's first half burns up on the power-chord crunch of "If You Really Want It," which starts out like a 120 Minutes­-era rocker and dissolves into swirling string pads and squirrelly synth arpeggios. This more straight-ahead approach continues on the strident ballad "Walk Away." The ebb and flow of the disc reaches its apex with the hypnotic "All the Time," which collects the best parts of happy into six minutes. Tension and release, harmony and discord, clarity and murkiness — all of these things are tied together with an urgency that bears multiple listens.

— Christian Schaeffer

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