Irish tiny troubadour bares soul on debut album
Before We Forgot How to Dream is the debut album by Irish singer songwriter Birdie Monds-Watson, better known as SOAK. For the last three years she has released a slew of songs that showcase her ability not to just tell a good story, but through a few simple elements, create something that not only moves, but challenges.
To get to the bottom of Monds-Watson’s bewitching album you first have to deconstruct her tales of modern life. On the surface it’s standard stuff. It’s just vocals and a guitar right? Dig a little deeper and you find percussion and effect pedals. Dig a little deeper still and you realise that you can’t put your finger on what makes the combination of these instruments so captivating. Then it hits you. It’s Monds-Watson herself. There is a synergy between her vocals and guitar. At times they sound as if they are connect, acting at one with only the goal of telling the story. Never during the album’s forty minutes do you feel that there is a power struggle going on between them.
Lead singles B a noBody, Sea Creatures, Blud and B-Side Shuvels jostle with Wait, Hailstones Don’t Hurt, Reckless Behaviour and Oh Brother for the honour of being your favourite track. There is a stark simplicity and honesty to this collection of songs. On Sea Creatures Monds-Watson sings “They don’t know what love is, Throw it around like it’s worthless, They don’t know what love is!” and later pleads “I pray for you, And you know I don’t like Jesus!, Want you to get better… , Please, please get better, For you, for me”. Blud starts with a statement, but through reason a resolution is worked out “You’ve got a problem, I cannont fix it, Hear the anger through the ceiling, I wish I missed it. Quit your employment, We can work without it, If it means you will not suffer”. These are simple snapshots at the human condition that are baffling. At 19 Monds-Watson is wise beyond her years, and it shows in the songs she has lovingly crafted.
The real stars of the show are the slightly psychedelic interludes. They help to change the tone and texture of the album. They show that Monds-Watson isn’t just capable of writing heartfelt pop songs, and that she has far more range and vision to her pallet than originally meets the eye. Before We Forgot How to Dream is a stark reminder that there is plenty going on in the UK music scene other than over produced pop and angular skinny jean wearing bands. Let’s hope that SOAK returns as she needs to teach us what it to dream again is.