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SOAK

Soak

If I Never Know You Like This Again

With their new album, If I Never Know You Like This Again, SOAK has finally shaken the hangover of their starry debut Before We Forgot How To Dream, and the pressures that came with it, hiding in the wings of their ambitious follow up album, Grim Town. Having come up through BBC introducing at the tender age of 15 before signing to Rough Trade Records as well as winning the RTE Choice Music Prize, The Northern Irish Music Prize and the youngest ever Mercury Prize nominee, SOAK has again and again been described as ‘the voice of a generation.’

Showing from a young age an intensely artistic awareness of the poetry of memory, Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, would incessantly photograph and video everything, documenting and organising the material so it was always there for them to revisit. ”I always want to remember exactly how I felt at a certain moment.” Now, at 25, SOAK’s third album ‘If I Never Know You Like This Again', is naturally made up of what Bridie intimately calls “song-memories”.

Working closely with Tommy McLaughlin (Villagers), with whom Bridie has been collaborating with since the age of 15, and armed with influences from Pavement, to Radiohead to Broken Social Scene, they wrote most of the album together before recording it with the rest of the band in Attica Studios, Donegal. Throughout the album SOAK pushes and pulls at melodies, but never milks their brilliance. Bridie masterfully glides their vocal melody slightly off-kilter above excitable compressed high hats and flourishing guitar lines. With the new direction of a grungier, more lo-fi production the swooning guitars are given a contemporary pop-edge, reflected in the rich and robust musicality of songs like ‘Bleach’, ‘Last July’ and ‘Pretzel’. There’s a constant pulsating beat at the album’s centre, propelling it towards a kind of dewy happiness, like the end credits of a 90s coming-of-age film. Bridie’s lyrics move through the songs almost as effortlessly and they sing them, and the songs when read, read like poetry. With this album Bridie is, as the title suggests, freezing time in the pursuit of truth: capturing their life into existence.

In the world of ‘If I Never Know You Like This Again’, a life is lived only because it's remembered.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Falling somewhere between the youthful vigour of pop-punk and the fuzzy guitars and snappy bass of garage, all softened with the beautiful vocals of Monds-Watson. Another gorgeous, heartfelt outing from one of the most distinctive voices in indie music.

TRACK LISTING

Purgatory
Last July
Bleach
Get Well Soon
Red-eye
Guts
Baby, You’re Full Of Shit
Pretzel
Neptune
Swear Jar

SOAK returns after 4 years with a new album, bringing with her 4 years worth of growth, introspection and understanding. The result is Grim Town, the follow-up to her Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut Before We Forgot How To Dream, which saw her win the prestigious Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year, the Northern Irish Music Prize, and the European Border Breaker Award, in addition to being shortlisted for a Q Award.

Her astonishingly assured, emotionally mature songwriting was often hailed as wise beyond its years; but, as her new album often asks, when do we ever truly shake off those childlike fears, the imposter-syndrome, the outsider-status? The term ‘to come of age’ lands with so much expectation, but with Grim Town, Bridie dissolves all such assuredness with imaginative, ambitious, and cathartic results. It is almost as though the greater soundscape - heavier in places, more pop-focused in others - has given SOAK the confidence to put her long overdue introspections in the firing line. It’s beauty and brutality is there from the album open opener, ‘Get Set Go Kid’ which traces the train-tracks out of depression (“I’ve got to get out, I can’t live here anymore!”) and was as inspired by the audio-visual environmentalism of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ as Bridie’s train-obsessed grandad on voiceover duties.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Grim Town is the newest album from Soak in 4 years, and displays a much more mature and thematically consistent side to Monds-Watson's sound. Still encompassing the punky chord sequences but with a much more nuanced and musically diverse backdrop, shimmering and soaring before bringing things back to earth with minimal guitar pieces, accentuated only by those unmistakable vox.

TRACK LISTING

1. "all Aboard"
2. Get Set Go Kid
3. Everybody Loves You
4. Knock Me Off My Feet
5. Maybe
6. Fall Asleep / Backseat
7. Crying Your Eyes Out
8. I Was Blue, Technicolour Too
9. Déjà Vu
10. Scrapyard
11. Valentine Shmalentine
12. YBFTBYT
13. Life Trainee
14. Missed Calls
15. Nothing Looks The Same

Bonus 7”:
1. IOU
2. Talk Of The Town

Soak

Before We Forgot How To Dream

    Before We Forgot How to Dream’ is a stunning snapshot of SOAK’s formative years growing up in Northern Ireland, touching variously on the themes of isolation, family and what to do with your future. Already compared with the likes of Laura Marling and Beach House, Bridie has been a rising star in her hometown of Derry since the age of 14, when a chance uploading of the ‘Sea Creatures’ demo to the BBC Introducing playlist saw A&R board the next flight over and park up outside the Monds-Watson’s household. Yet SOAK rushed into nothing, instead splitting her time between studies, the local skate-park and daunting early shows (such as opening Derry’s tenure as City of Culture hours before a GCSE exam). Things moved forward last year, when Bridie teamed up with CHVRCHES for their launch of a singles label, toured with George Ezra and Tegan & Sara, before signing a deal with Rough Trade the same summer most of her friends got their A-Level results. Produced alongside Tommy from Villagers, her debut album traces SOAK’s extraordinary journey to this point, and marks Bridie’s graduation from raw talent to a significant songwriter for the years ahead. It seems also to speak of those more universal joys and fears of adolescence, before we, too, forgot how to dream.

    TRACK LISTING

    My Brain
    B A NoBody
    Blud
    Wait
    Sea Creatures
    A Dream To Fly
    24 Windowed House
    Garden
    Shuvels
    Hailstones Don’t Hurt
    Reckless Behaviour
    If Everyone Is Someone - No One Is Everyone
    Oh Brother
    Blind


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