SOHN asks for the lights to be turned up a little more this time around. As a 21st century balladeer, 2014’s ‘Tremors’ had Christopher Taylor executing almost unreasonably good, reverse psychology over listeners by making the bleak directly talk to you, turning anxiety into something near enough cuddly and approachable.
Right from the off changes are afoot, and yet ‘Rennen’ picks up from where ‘Tremors’ left off from “between fireside rocking chair and disrobed cosmic disco”. The almost country & western sentiment to ‘Hard Liquor’, and the juddering ‘Conrad’, set a benchmark of avant pop laced with blooming, booming, maximalist electronics with the power to twist and rattle both sonically and psychologically. Appearing to have listened to his share of James Blake (almost religiously on ‘Proof’) and Disclosure’s ‘Latch’, and adding a dash of Olly Alexander to his vocal, SOHN banks on his one-on-one performance on ‘Signal’ and ‘Primary’, the latter becoming a lo-houser from nowhere. His brand of lighters-up interaction with a swaying front row continues to wrap comfort and hugs with a telling stretch of barbed wire and turn of phrase that digs into you.
The title track particularly is designed to leave your rapt and oddly repentant, and ‘Harbour’ is a grand finale of a gallop unseating all the weight from this shoulders that until that point he had carried so completely. It’s a follow-up that interlocks with the debut perfectly, building on its foundation both lavish and coy, doing pop music that’s both bang on target and way too wise for the charts. A dot of light in the darkness that will dazzle you should you look too long.
Words: Matt Oliver
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