wed 21/08/2019

CD: SOHN - Tremors | reviews, news & interviews

CD: SOHN - Tremors

CD: SOHN - Tremors

4AD's new signee makes nuanced pop music that takes its sweet time

Tremors: an album that celebrates the light in life's darkest moments

It’s kind of a shame that for whatever reason (presumably SEO), Vienna-based producer and singer SOHN (formerly known as S O H N) had to drop the spaces in between the letters of his name. As well as a self-conscious aesthetic flourish, it was after all a neat tie-in with the artist’s overall approach: patience, space, cool restraint.

Emerging in 2012 with the future pop jam “Oscillate” and grabbing the internet buzz machine by the ears with the irrepressibly catchy “The Wheel”, SOHN has always had a focus on movement, his tracks talking about life’s unpredictable twists and his production driving forward with precision. His trademark is working with vocals, weaving them into the fabric of his music to make your heart ache: in the past year he’s used this trick to work magic on the likes of new London soul voice Kwabs and LA singer-songwriter Banks.

Somehow, along the way, SOHN got a bit of a rep for being moody - it might have something to do with all the black hoods and sorrowful falsetto - but his debut album Tremors is a forceful celebration of the dramatic twists and turns life offers. In “Lessons”, a brooding track that takes painfully long to reach its ferocious climax, SOHN recounts the hard-earned cynical wisdom he’s gained from the end of a relationship, while in the album’s stand-out single “Artifice” he lets go over a infectious pop beat with a devil-may-care attitude. Meanwhile, there are twilight-dwindling dancefloor moments like “Lights”, and reflective ballads like “Paralysed” and “Tremors” - the former being a straight-up piano song unlike anything SOHN has offered before.

It’s an easy trick to categorise artists as having a certain mood that they specialise in, but for SOHN it couldn’t be less appropriate. Tremors is an album that celebrates the light in life’s darkest moments and vice versa: delving into shades of grey, its greatest strength is its pace, always withholding just enough to keep the listener hooked. SOHN is an artist who reads between the lines, and his pop music is full of nuance and life.

Overleaf: watch the video for 'Artifice'


SOHN got a bit of a rep for being moody - it might have something to do with all the black hoods and sorrowful falsetto

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