Published May 29, 2015When you're young and shy, you have to get creative in order to get your thoughts out into the world. In the case of a 13-year-old Irish artist named SOAK (born Bridie Monds-Watson), the answer was songwriting. Monds-Watson's debut album, Before We Forgot How To Dream, is a portrait of adolescence documenting her growth between the ages of 13 and 18 (she recently celebrated her 19th birthday), but this is no mere diary entry. Instead, Monds-Watson spins plaintive poetry out of her most formative years living in a small town just outside of Belfast and generally going through the motions of time. As she so eloquently puts on "SHUVEL": "Time is proof that we've outgrown our old selves."
There are little gems like that throughout Before We Forgot How To Dream, creating a fine balance of naiveté and stirring wisdom on songs like the rollicking "Reckless Behaviour" and her earliest track, "Sea Creatures" (which still holds up after six years). This is oftentimes accompanied by wistful accoutrements, or as Monds-Watson has described it, a "starry sound": simple guitar arrangements, brushstrokes of strings and sheaths of layering effects, all of which gives further depth to Monds-Watson's words. Monds-Watson has described the album title as the time in life right before a person enters a realm of responsibilities and adulthood stress that wipes away the ability to be wistful, but with the evident growth chronicled on this album, we doubt Monds-Watson will lose her sense of whimsy and creativity anytime soon. (Rough Trade)