Published Apr 25, 2019From the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry, musician SOAK (Bridie Monds-Watson) has cultivated a soundscape of indie pop with her album Grim Town. Straying from the folk arrangements that characterized her Mercury Music Prize-nominated album, Before We Forgot How to Dream, SOAK has returned with a more vibrant and pop-oriented record.
Throughout the album is the underlying notion of escaping, a yearning for growth and maturity and to leave the present in favour of a more optimistic future. "I've always done the best I could / To get out of my neighbourhood," SOAK sings on the opening line of "Knock Me Off My Feet." Likely a mention of her hometown, one can imagine that there is more to escape from.
The album itself is poppy and melodic, with poetic lyrics and vocals that give each song life and structure. SOAK's indie folk past is not entirely lost, but has grown into a more energetic and bubbly sound. The slower and more bare songs, such as "Fall Asleep / Backseat," are still beautifully arranged and feature an unparalleled vulnerability.
Grim Town is a concept in itself: it is a fictitious location, an embodiment of feeling that has been brought to life by the sentiment and memory that revolve around it. Through it, SOAK is able to explore emotion and turn it into something tangible. (Rough Trade)