June 1st saw a lot of new albums being released, but a definite highlight is the first album from the incredible Bridie Monds-Watson AKA SOAK. Her album has been written through her teenage years and is a wonderful collection of songs which are engaging and full of meaning. Some of the songs were written when Bridie was as young 13, and now at the age of 19 she stands on stage with her guitar and sings with an abundance of passion, in a delicately expressive way.
The CD opens with the instrumental track ‘My Brain’, which is a muddle of melody and sounds, then the listener is quickly enveloped by Bridie’s incredibly unique vocals on the track ‘B A NoBody’. The chorus of the song is light and and inviting, cleverly exploring the feelings associated with being a teenager – a recurrent theme throughout the album. SOAK is incredible at writing lyrics which remain in your mind long after the song has finished playing. Her phraseology regarding themes which are constantly reoccurring in music is fresh and new, which is one of the main reasons her album is so powerful. “You’re in my blood / I’m in your blood” from the track ‘Blud’ is a clear example of Bridie exploring relationships in a refreshing manner. The album progresses cleverly and seems to have been ordered in such a way that it flows perfectly from one track to the next, telling an incredible story. The song ‘Sea Creatures’ – which she so wonderfully performed on “Later… With Jools Holland” – is an amazing song about friendship and love. Many people have been calling it the the most impressive song on the album, and it is easy to see why with its beautifully paced and eloquently phrased lyrics.
The album ends with the song ‘Oh Brother’ which is a very powerful and incredibly moving song. However, the hidden track ‘Bind’ officially ends the album and brings the listener back to down to earth after the ethereal sounds heard throughout. An acoustic song, it reinforces how mesmerising SOAK’s voice is, simultaneously enforcing that simplicity can be ever so effective.
On the release day, I found myself in a room upstairs in HMV on Oxford street with 100 or so other people, waiting to see SOAK perform a collection of songs off her album. After some trouble with an airline which she flew into London on losing her guitars, she appears on stage missing her effects pedals yet still sounding glorious. There is very little difference between how Bridie’s vocals sound on her album and live, her voice is truly amazing and the entire room listened in awe. In her lovely Derry accent she explained between songs what they are about, at what age she wrote them and what she was going through at the time. I don’t remember what I was doing at 13 but it definitely wasn’t picking up a guitar and writing beautiful songs. The audience was utterly charmed by her personality and the incredible skill which she showed onstage.
Before We Forgot How To Dream is humorous and cleverly written, articulating thoughts and feelings which many people can relate to. It will make you smile but may also make you cry, which to me is proof of an especially amazing record.
Words by Lizzie Wood