SOKO Album Review



SOKO – My Dreams Dictate My Reality

This precocious twenty-something entertainer just might be the most intriguing woman on today’s rock music scene.

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If Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux had a bouncing baby girl, who had Will Sergeant as a nanny, she’d undoubtedly turn out to be like Soko, a creative, talented, effervescent artist ploughing new ground and constantly reinventing her sound. She’s an uber-talented artist hailing from France, but seemingly fitting in just fine in Los Angeles.

Her second album, My Dreams Dictate My Reality was released a week ago, and has the potential to be a career-defining release. Knowing what little I do of Soko, I assume her next incarnation will be totally different, but for now, let’s revel in this new masterpiece.

She’s a captivating performer – a multi-instrumentalist musician, an actress, a video producer and social media icon. But today, lets just focus on Soko the musician, and there’s plenty to focus on there.

About twenty years ago, I had a favorite late night haunt in Philadelphia – The Revival. This after hours social club was an invigorating lively scene, and just the kind of place that would have feasted on Soko’s addictive music. The clientele were tattooed, pierced, sexually liberal, and fans of unique, powerful music. If My Dreams Dictate My Reality had been released twenty years ago, it would have been played constantly in this wonderfully dark club. I miss those days, but am so excited to hear music that evokes those fantastic memories.

Soko has created a refreshing and exciting album that has dominated my attention for the past several days. It’s early in the year, but My Dreams Dictate My Reality is destined to be on our Album of the Year lists for 2015. It’s wonderfully produced by Ross Robinson of The Cure fame, and there are definitely moments where Cure fans will reflect back fondly of their music that highlighted the Alt-Rock scene when Soko was an infant.

The songwriting is mainstream accessible, yet quirky as hell; the songwriting fresh and attention-grabbing, and the vocals almost constantly a surprise. They range from light and poppy, to raw and gritty, and at times to aggressive howls – the album serves as a wonderful canvas for a compelling voice.

I’m not sure there’s a radio hit on the album, but that’s mostly an indictment of the horrific commercial radio landscape that proliferates our airwaves. There are a handful of catchy tracks on the album that would please many a music fan. “Ocean Of Tears,” “Temporary Mood Swings” and “Who Wears The Pants” are the most noticeable of these tracks – the latter offering a protest song she penned: “I wrote it when I got fed up with all the crap I hear from homophobic demons.”

There are more than a few distinctly eighties moments that conjure up intoxicating memories of bands like The Cure, Echo And The Bunnymen and Voice Of The Beehive – damn good company! “My Precious” is a prime example, curiously reminiscent of Robert Smith, but with a quirky female spin on it. The title track is another offering cut from the same cloth, but it’s deliciously dark and tantalizing, as well.

There are also a few collaborations with Ariel Pink thrown in for good measure, including the supremely listenable “Lovetrap,” a song that sounds like Wall Of Voodoo meats Meatloaf – interesting stuff.

There are a few tracks that were average at best. The album is not perfect, but My Dreams Dictate My Reality is dominated by thoughtful, creative rock ‘n roll that you won’t be able to get enough of.

Rock On!

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