SOPHIE is a real master of her craft.
Label: Transgressive Records
Released: 15th June 2018
Rating: ★★★★

The best pop is all about emotions. Emotions that attack your heart and soul and disturb your very equilibrium. Emotions that bend your mind and move your body. Emotions that you can’t describe but know that they make you feel something quite special. Right now, nobody quite messes with those emotions like SOPHIE.

‘OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES’ is the Scottish producer and pioneer of new pop sounds’ debut album and it contains all the genre-hopping madness you’d expect. The whole thing is a kaleidoscopic tour de force that fully showcases why SOPHIE is one of the music exciting musicians on the planet.

It’s a debut that careers across styles and sounds, beginning with the tender whispered hug of ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ before ending with the all-out sonic electro punk assault of ‘Whole New World/Pretend World’ which sounds a bit like 2 Unlimited warped into something altogether darker and more fucked up.

‘Ponyboy’ and ‘Faceshopping’ are equally as abrasive. After you’ve adjusted to the dissonant rampage though, you begin to notice the little details; ones that mark SOPHIE out as a real master of her craft rather than a flash in the pan shock artist. Distant echoes of raves gone by filter through, coalescing into some of the most bewitching electronic pop you’ll ever hear, equally comfortable in the mainstream or kicking up a fuss on the margins.

There are frequent jaw-dropping moments here, like the spellbinding trance symphony of ‘Is It Cold In the Water’ which brings to mind an ecstatic Cocteau Twins, a fitting comparison when you also take into account the otherworldly album title.

There’s heart and soul at work here. SOPHIE herself has described the album as a cathartic culmination of her journey from subversive outsider to newly minted pop icon. Sometimes she wants to shock and shake things up. Sometimes though, she just wants to party as on the exuberant, bouncy banger of ‘Immaterial’. It’s clear that SOPHIE can do it all.

The record does have its challenging moments, but that’s the whole point; the light becomes that more illuminating when it follows the darkness. A towering statement from an artist who is forging her own path any way she likes it.

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