Displaying progression on all levels
Meg Berridge

15:23 2nd May 2019

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It’s bank holiday Monday. I’m basking in the glorious glow of what seems like eternal sunlight. I’ve got a pack of Co-Op’s own brand iced lollies cooling in the freezer, a copy of Keith Richards’ Life to hand and SOAK’s new album Grim Town bustling away in the background.

Grim Town is the highly anticipated second album from the Irish singer-songwriter, since her first album was released way, way back in 2015. As it goes, the album displays progression on all levels from her debut, musically, and with that, emotionally. She guides listeners into her unadulterated mind, manifested into a dystopian land where dreams go to die, “welcome aboard the southbound train to Grim Town”. 

The booming voice of a man opens the album. He speaks and pauses and speaks again, his voice weaving amongst a fog of chatter and discordant organ. Amongst the unfathomable chaos, the message is distinguished, his sound soothing yet menacing all at once. It is a resounding message about the ultimate place many of us, the disenfranchised people, will dwell...Apparently Grim Town. I’ll say it myself and I’ll say it for you, I love an album with a social and political agenda. What a way to amp up the bank hol. 

Or this is what I thought. I feel stabbed in the back. Betrayed. Alas, this album does not have a socio-political core. Nay, it’s an album structured mainly with love songs. It should be called Heartbreak Boulevard or something along those lines. Quite frankly, I don’t see what being a ‘recipient of universal credit or minimum wage’ has got to do with love and relationships. 

Despite being disheartened by this anti-climatic album, it’s still nice to listen to. SOAK’s voice is effortlessly sweet yet tinged with desperation, playing beautifully atop ebullient melodies and memorable choruses. ‘Maybe’ being the standout track of the album. It certainly did make a sunny day a lot brighter.

Grim Town is out now via Rough Trade. 

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