SOAK: Grim Town (Rough Trade) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Grim Town

Rough Trade

Apr 25, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

At some point, youth cracks. That sense of perpetual invincibility, the world firmly clenched in your fist, the euphoria that rushes through your blood as you contemplate your ever-expanding horizoneverything starts to crumble. But the world that emerges from the debris doesn’t have to recede into darkness. In Bridie Monds-Watson’s sophomore album as SOAK, our guide steers us through the limbo between growing and grown up, which she calls Grim Town. And, like many an adolescent that struggles with the whirl of adolescence, she reckons with the onslaught of maturity by pouring herself into pop music.

In the four years since her meditative debut Before We Forget How to Dream, Monds-Watson has clearly stepped up to her bigger stage with gusto. Tales of rejection and harrowing accidents turn into heavenly earworms at SOAK’s touch, like the Japanese Breakfast-esque “Deja Vu” and the Cure-lite anthem “Knock Me Off My Feet.” Elsewhere, the cool Lana Del Ray mood of “Everybody Loves You” reflects youth’s shattered reverieand, given the unspecified gender of the subject, could also refer to the growing pains that come with nurturing queer desire. And then, just when you thought you were immune to tear-jerkers, the big and beautiful “Life Trainee” reminds us that fighting depression might never stop, but victories aren’t impossible: “I’m present, not just here/for the first time this year.”

Granted, Grim Town does stretch on for a few minutes too long. But Monds-Watson still proves that the scenic route to adulthood is no less engagingand certainly, that extra mile makes the humble closer “Nothing Looks the Same” all the more cathartic. “Everything will be alright by the end,” the conductor assures his northbound passengers; they might never shake off the changes they’ve endured, but greener pastures await them all the same. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10


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Planilla de luz
April 27th 2019

My rating 5.2