26-year-old Stéphanie Sokolinski is SoKo is a French artist with already substantial global popularity — she’s the sort to put up YouTube numbers in the 1.5MM view range. After taking some time away from music, presumably to focus on film (she’s a prolific actress) though clearly also to focus on honing her sound, she returns next week with a gorgeous, ethereally plaintive folk/pop album called I Thought I Was An Alien. It should add more to her view-counts across the board. The record trades in themes are of love and loss, loneliness and learning, and the vividly detailed lines pair well with SoKo’s gift for conveying emotion via tight phrasing and restraint. She intones a husky rasp through an endearingly crinkled accent — like if Chan Marshall took diction lessons from Björk — with tasteful instrumentation that builds from the guitars up; sometimes up to a rock crescendo, others to a delicately twinkling reverie. It’s the sort of record that has the potential to reach lots of people while also resonating with more guarded, folded-armed listeners. Spike Jonze helped film the record’s first video, for the title track; the second clip, for “First Love Never Die” is another fine example of Instragam-pop gone right. It’s gentle, sensitive music, but if that is your thing, you should hear it immediately. We have the premiere of album’s internet stream here, for a week. That’s enough time for you to get into it. Go ahead:
SoKo’s I Thought I Was An Alien is out 2/20 via Anorak.