Before We Forgot How To Dream – SOAK

Rebecca Armstrong takes a track by track listen to the debut record from her fellow Northern Irish songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson. You'll know her as SOAK.

After what feels like forever, the SOAK debut album ‘Before We forgot to Dream’ has finally landed and I am excited. Our very own Bridie Monds-Watson hasn’t been on the scene that long but boy has she impacted it. Always going to be special, I’m in awe that this is a debut, as it is seriously good… Here’s my track by track.

The clever ‘My Brain’ intro is a little stroke of genius as no matter how many times you listen, the same anticipation builds for was is a spectacular piece of work.

Leading into the first full track, and first single from the album, ‘B A NoBody’ is an angelic crash into your life. Young in years, Bridie is a wise old head on young shoulders. The beckoning lyrics of “Come on, come on, be a nobody” are hauntingly sweet. Building into a gorgeous orchestral clamour you know you’ve found a good thing.

‘Blud’ is special. Deep, gritty and beautifully set apart from everything you have heard with sweet vocals. “You’re in my blood, I’m in your blood, let’s just forget” rings in the back of your senses of that one you love/want/lost that you are just not going to let go off. Beautiful.

‘Wait’ is sublime. The sense of yearning throughout the whole track is relatable, echoing vocals getting seemingly intense as the drums build, supported by a haunting chorus of backing vocals makes you stop and take stock, of everything.

As all early SOAK supporters will know, ‘Sea Creatures’ was one of the first releases for our Derry girl. A bit of a bigger production this time round, making it sound more upbeat than the original version. Perfectly placed in the middle of the album, giving you a lighter, floatier break from the theme of the album. Stunningly original SOAK, you can really see for far this girl has come in such a short time.

With an interlude following; ‘A Dream To Fly’, you can picture this album live, track by track, its quite the clever little idea.

’24 Windowed House’ with its beautiful finger picking throughout back to haunting perfection of this album. Armed with her guitar, the angelic voiced story teller captivates you as the track builds and builds with deep, intimidating drum beats taking you right into the song, as it overtakes you. Total attack on all senses. Straight into the amazing ‘Garden’, this drum heavy track is the most up-tempo track on the album. “I’d take you everywhere if I could” sings Bridie as the chorus breaks and its wonderful, a well-paced, different vibe track that shows Bridie’s versatility to adapt to any tempo, track and style.

Words from 20 years older than her young years, ‘Shuvels’ is float-away-pain-in-love perfect. “I’ve got a ghost and she is haunting me, shows up out of nowhere with no warning,’ is where every single one of us has been at some time in our lives, and SOAK has literally penned it. Heart wrenchingly perfect, relatable and on repeat.

The wonderfully titled ‘Hailstones Don’t Work’ is perfect. Following from ‘Shuvels’ this is easily the best track on the album. Heartbeat-like drums add to the anticipation of the story. “But I don’t wanna” echoes sweetly and intensely leading to “when I’m lonely… your voice is the only sound to calm me down” and “I refuse to give up” is wrenching every fibre inside of your heart into a crescendo of perfect heartache. Absolutely stunning.

A perkier ‘Reckless Behaviour’ is the perfect pick me up after the previous attack on your soul. This is definitely the track will be well received at any of the shows. “I won’t waste my youth” sharply reminds you that this voice, this talent, is 18 years old. Any that is scarily amazing.

Another beautiful instrumental with a hurried undertone follows called ‘If  Everyone is Someone – No One is Everyone’ which transports us into the intense vocals of track ‘Oh Brother’. Beautifully orchestrated, intense vocals, big drums, powerful emotion. Just stop in your tracks amazing.

Final track is ‘Blind’. Quiet, gentle and armed only with her guitar, this reminds me of “early” SOAK, sitting on a chair, starting out with pin-drop silence in the room. Captivating.

It’s only when the music stops and you are met with the silence that you realise what you have just experienced. A truly majestic debut from Bridie. Perfect vocals, stunning music and an amazing gift of telling a story through every song. This is the epitome of talent from this lump of rock we live from, she’s from Derry. She’s from HERE. This makes me very proud.