When we saw Soak, aka Derry’s Bridie Monds-Watson, perform in London earlier this year, it’s safe to say we fell well and truly in love. In the age of crazy fan names, we became Super Soakers. And why wouldn’t we? The girl is in her teens and managed to reduce us to blubbering wrecks with her acoustic torch songs.
But that was a a girl with a guitar, on a stage, under a spotlight. As always, our concern with a full-length – a debut at that – is the seductive lure of a studio and all the gadgets and embellishments that it promises. Before We Forgot How To Dream is a title nostalgic for innocence, and there’s a worry that might be compromised with someone as delicate as Soak.
Luckily, as we observed when she was on stage, this one is far too smart a cookie to let anything adulterate the pure, fragile nature of her songs. B a noBody still rings with clarity, and you only need to get to Wait to realise that the accoutrements of string, piano, and a gentle backing chorus only highlight the devastation of her work.
Occasionally our worries rear their head, like on Sea Creatures. In a way it’s hard to approach a song like this when you’ve seen the magic it can create in a live setting, so it’s a bit disconcerting to see it weaved into a Radio 2 tapestry of commercial appeal.
But that doesn’t take away how special Soak is as an artist. The command she has over both voice and narrative is beyond impressive – SHUVELS deals with broken friendships, Blud sears in its account of parental strife, and there’s heart in ever corner. In fact, it makes the Sheeran likeness on the album sleeve seem most incongruous. Soak is the anti-Sheeran, a singer-songwriter with profound merit who is only set to get even better.
Before We Forgot How To Dream by Soak can be ordered here.