The transition into early adulthood is usually full of a few hard truths: life is hard, people can be shit and success and stability is often more difficult to achieve that you’d once hoped. So forms the premise of SOAK’s second album ‘Grim Town’. If a then 18-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson’s 2015 debut ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ was often full of a sense of teenage optimism, hope and the sense of an endless, wide-open future, her second album ‘Grim Town’ is something of a rude awakening.
Opening with a spoken word segment voiced by a train conductor, informing passengers they’re heading to a destination intended for “the lonely, the disenfranchised, the disillusioned, the lost, and the grieving”, the album mixes together glossy, upbeat production with tales of disappointment, confusion and intergenerational angst all set in the location of a fictional dystopia.
On ‘Know Me Off My Feet’ she explores the tricky relationship many people have to their dead-end hometowns, desperate to get out on one hand and nostalgic for their claustrophobic, small-town lifestyles on the other. Elsewhere, she asks soul-searching questions that don’t have easy answers - “There’s no heaven in front of me,” she laments on ‘Deja Vu’, while on ‘Everybody Loves You’, she asks “I can’t sleep / what’s it all for?” - but, overall, and perhaps importantly, it mostly sounds like something to sing along to, rather than the soundtrack to your next existential crisis.
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