The experimental pop of SOPHIE is really unlike anything that I have ever heard before. This is not the first time I've listened to SOPHIE, but her EP PRODUCT from 2015, a play on commercialism recorded and released over a full year, was interesting but conceptual and clunky. Well the clunks have been stripped away on this debut LP and in their place is utter madness. The albums opener evokes this opulent feeling of beauty at it's most desirable but with a through line of emotional vulnerability saying "It's Ok to Cry". Then the album shifts gears in a major fucking way on "Ponyboy" and "Faceshopping" into straight up fucking dub step. Now before you go running and hiding this is dub step used in such a new and experimental way. The drops aren't used just to create some frenzied dance explosion for a few seconds, instead the clanks and glitchy vibe of the genre is used to create this constant tension. Sounds come at you from every angle on this track pulling you in to their industrial darkness. Something is always just slightly off on this album, giving you the sense that everything is super transitive, maybe it won't even be there the next time you listen to it. This album is about creating one big aggressive experience, and using aggression in an extremely powerful way that isn't violent, just fucking aggressive. You get it on "Is It Cold In The Water?" as this Operatic vocal soars over this heavy electronic beat pulling you ever closer to something, but never quite letting you get a look at it. It's all about the build creating that ever present tension.

SOPHIE's early work seemed to be really focused on being concise and creating something which at the bottom had a deep sense of wit. That sentiment is all but gone on OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES where we get these massive meandering productions unconcerned with time. "Not Okay" sort of pops in and out of existence through intense feedback buzz only to vanish into nothing. It acts as this punctuation mark, creating a space between the tracks but always tying back to the whole. These songs feel so cinematic and grand. "Pretending" is just tremendously big taking you through some otherworldly gateway with only a sense of something sinister lurking on the outside. The pictures this record paints are so vivid and dramatic yet at the heart of it all is this sense of true indulgence letting the chords turn to ooze and fall all over you. There is also what feels like an intentional lack of sexual themed stuff keeping the vibe at a more puppy love kind of vibe, if that even makes sense amongst all this aggression. In the end this record is truly an accomplishment for SOPHIE, something totally new but supremely intense. I can't imagine a wrold where this would breakthrough, but the things she is doing on this record and really incredible.

9.1 out of 10


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