Stéphanie ‘Soko’ Sokolinski is a self-confessed witch, vampire and alien. She often sounds like she’s lived a lifetime of melodrama, yet she’s just 29. Her second studio album is an open-book account of the above and includes a cameo from Ariel Pink. The self-taught French musician originally built a reputation on lo-fi, indie folk tunes. On her latest record, ‘Keaton’s Song’ is the only track to resemble her earlier work.
Love, heartbreak and loss are big themes on this album. It’s no surprise that Soko’s favourite artists are Robert Smith and Morrissey, with many album tracks resembling The Cure’s dark sound. Ross Robinson (The Cure) produced this record and Soko used a baritone guitar, just like Smith. Soko’s music is not particularly original, but what it lacks in creativity it makes up for in attitude, like in the broody and mischievous ‘Ocean Of Tears’. There’s also the sunny-sounding gay rights anthem, ‘Who Wears The Pants??’, before ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ makes us realise how insecure and frightened of commitment Soko is, despite being steadfast in refusing to conform.
Soko’s second album is raw, retro-sounding and personal. It may not be groundbreaking, but this is definitely emotional enough in laying one gothic soul to bare.