Although the title and the cover art of Soko’s criminally underrated debut I Thought I Was An Alien displayed some of the quirk she had previously displayed, the content of the record itself was a much more serious and sombre affair. By earnestly walking across the fragile surface of love, life and isolation, the French singer showed that she’s not just a pop curiosity resurfacing, but instead that she’s a serious talent with a lot of emotion to spill.
My Dreams Dictate My Reality, her pledge music funded follow up, sees that layer of raw honesty out in the open once more, although this time around she’s made more room for the kind of kitschy behaviour which got her noticed in the first place. The former manifests itself inside the likes of “Visions” and most noticeably in the album’s finale “Keaton’s Song”, the most stripped down number and most personal observation offered. It’s been long disputed that Soko and UK songwriter Keaton Henson have been mutually influential in each others heartbreak material over the last few years, and this addition adds more speculation/clarity to that idea.
It’s not all stripped down sadness and sincere melancholy, though. Soko’s sophomore effort see’s her shift the brackets further afield, both in terms of tone and character but more specifically regarding her sound. Where previously Soko had immersed herself deeply in folksy indie ambience and acoustic guitars, here she’s digging into a slightly darker, dirtier soundscape, one that streams along like a love letter to the alternative side of the 80’s. Enlisting the help of producer Ross Robinsion, Soko has injected a healthy burst of post punk and dream pop into her repertoire. Whether it’s in the spiky, fist pumping anthem “My Prescious” or the gloomy bass and reverb swirls of the albums title track, the alteration made produces a thicker, denser and moodier side to her impression of pop.
Whether that trend continues or whether Soko sticks with what she knows from here on out is to be seen, but in the here and now it appears that whatever is truly moulding her reality, it’s producing something pretty wonderful.