Soko has always been a through-the-looking-glass girl. Sometimes she’s an alien, other times she’s in love with monsters, and the song that launched her career twists the blade on love and death like a knife in the back. The French artist is more cognizant than most of how short our time with loved ones is as she lost her dad and her grandparents at a young age. These losses deeply affected her, and she became very independent, leaving her home at 16 to pursue film and music. While she spent the years between then and now engrossed with death and playing with vaguely morbid, folk overtones, her new record is a break with the past. At 29, Soko is finally ready for her teenage rebellion.
Soko chopped her long, brunette waves into a self-proclaimed “illegitimate daughter of Andy Warhol” look and worked with legendary Cure producer Ross Robinson in his Venice Beach home studio for months, inventing a smoldering pop-goth sound that employs reverb and political defiance without batting an eye. Soko’s songwriting has been pointedly fatalist for a while now, and that’s all still here on My Dreams Dictate My Reality, but now it’s often balanced with a child-like glee — a spontaneous, mischievous energy that infuses the mood. This album captures the neon-lit doomsday vibrations of Los Angeles, especially on “Monster Love” and “Lovetrap,” the songs Ariel Pink guests on. (Soko returned the favor by guesting on several tracks from his new album Pom Pom, too.) But where Pink drawls and whines, Soko’s clipped, foreign vocals slice through the volatile synths. Elsewhere, she sings in the tear-streaked whisper of a woman used to handling her own pain, managing her own disappointment. Even Soko’s rebellion has a dreaminess to it, every bit of luster tinted with sadness and an urge toward the otherworldly. If Neverland ever appealed to you on any real level, this is the album for you. Stream My Dreams Dictate My Reality below for a full week before its release.
My Dreams Dictate My Reality is out 3/3 on Babycat Records/Because Music. Preorder it here.