“The voice of her generation…there is beauty and wisdom in SOAK’s music” – NME “Sensational…the most auspicious of debuts” – Mojo **** “A richly textured record…a quite precocious talent” – Q **** “Both innocent and haunted…SOAK defies conformity” – Guardian **** “The tenderness, wisdom, self-knowledge and humour contained here would put many writers decades her senior to shame” – Sunday Times Culture
SOAK has today unveiled beautiful new track ‘Valentine Shmalentine’, which is available now. Together with new single ‘Knock Me Off My Feet’ and returning track ‘Everybody Loves You’, ‘Valentine Shmalentine’ is taken from Bridie’s much-anticipated second album, Grim Town, which will be released on Rough Trade / Remote Control on April 26.Grim Town follows the success of SOAK’s multi-prize-winning debut album Before We Forgot How To Dream, and an extraordinary period of invention and self-discovery for the still-just-22-year-old Derry native.
Haunting, atmospheric and brutally honest, ‘Valentine Shmalentine’ – says Bridie – is “the result of both giving into hallmark and being a dramatic bitch.” It’s a stark highlight from SOAK’s second album Grim Town, a record that takes those most despondent moments (such as a disastrous Valentine’s Day) and ultimately finds hope and humour in them.
The central premise of Grim Town, says SOAK, is “a dystopia that I’ve created in my brain: me on the inside, processed into a pretend location. The way I could wrap my head around a lot of what I was going through was to make it feel like something quite physical and real. Once I had the idea of the album being an actual location, exploring the dynamics of this town and what it would look or sound like felt like the right way to give my mental state a personality.” So if debut album Before We Forgot How To Dreamwas conceived as a time-capsule of innocence, vividly capturing those moments in adolescence when anything felt possible, Grim Town perhaps examines the reality: on what happens next after you enter adulthood (but actually feel more in crisis than ever), and the world around you isn’t what was promised to you or your generation.
A record about getting lost that you can, also, truly get lost in, Grim Town arrives as inspired by the audio-visual environmentalism of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ as the production of Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene or Phoebe Bridgers. With unflinching honesty, Bridie tackles everything from long-distance love, depression, divorce and social anxiety to the changing modern landscape (sexually, politically, emotionally). And it’s accepting the jumble of emotions which make you ‘you’ that emerges as the ultimate message of Grim Town, with its suitably placeless universe in which everybody’s personal Grim Townlooks different, but everybody’s matters.