Published on July 3rd, 2018 | by voxx0
SOPHIE – Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
The cutting-edge producer delivers a dizzying dance-pop hybrid…
When PC Music arrived in 2014, the London label presented a hard, crisp, fiendishly clever sound. Heavy on the synths and starring the kind of Disneyfied vocals you might find in happy hardcore, it was somehow cute and unsettling all at once. Of all the artists affiliated with the label, SOPHIE’s take has been its most intriguing. A form of synthetic, brittle pop she has compared to sculpture.
In early singles, debut compilation album Product and her work as a producer for Madonna and Charli XCX, there were shades of J-Pop and K-Pop, certainly, but the sound is less candy-coloured than this suggests – the scorching vocals countered by a juggernauting bass and occupying a similar disco-house intersection to the likes of Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan.
Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides marks the first time SOPHIE has used her own voice and image in her career, a move amplified by the revelation that she is transgender. Gender, authenticity and openness are subjects she sets out in glittering opener ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ and returns to in tracks such as ‘Faceshopping’, which enlists vocalist Cecile Believe to repeatedly intone, “My face is the real shop front.”
There are many such defiant moments here, as well as ugliness, humour and beauty – each one undercutting the moment that preceded it as tenderness gives way to a squelch and euphoria turns beastly. Be it the jagged ache of ‘Is It Cold In The Water?’, or the not wholly pleasant spot between smoothly anonymous vocal and dissonant growl in ‘Whole New World/Pretend World’, it’s not always an easy album. But it’s one that introduces SOPHIE as an artist led not so much by melody, but by finding physical textures in music. Whatever she makes you feel, it’s a ferociously sensual work.
- By Jake White