Aug 2012 20

Sophya - Words & SoundsSophya
Category: Goth
Album: Words & Sounds
Stars: 3
Blurb: Compiled over the course of 11 years, this Israeli duo takes traditional ‘80s goth influences into more timeless, dreamlike areas.


Originally from Israel but now based in Amsterdam, the duo of Sonya Rozenblum and Idan Karutchi has put together and released on their own Out of Print Records label this vinyl/download-only release that brings together 14 tracks recorded between 2000-2011, although it can easily be taken as a complete album in its own right.

The Sophya sound is based around Sonya’s ethereal, exotic voice and synths and Idan’s guitar, which seems on such tracks as “Desert Heart” and the short “Third Wish Pt.1” to be influenced by the instrumental bands of the ‘60s such as The Shadows, strange as it might sound. Here it is altered and placed in a totally different setting in a manner that seems to add an element of the everyday into an otherwise mysterious, evocative dreamlike setting. There is a definite influence of ‘80s goth in places too, particularly on the earlier tracks with the opening duo of “More” and “Another Day” both proving reminiscent of Siouxsie & The Banshees and even The Mission, but the music is given a more ethereal mood by the lashings of echo that permeate the whole affair while some fine piano work adds a more grandiose edge to “Captive Beauty” before “Downstairs” again sees the band spinning a mysterious web of words and music, like a waking dream given musical form. Taking this particular aspect to its logical conclusion is “Pale Blue Moon,” which is executed so well with its phased guitar and bewitching vocals that it’s hard to imagine any other song that has evoked its title so perfectly with a dark serenity that makes this an album for relaxed and contemplative listening, preferably late at night with the lights either down low or nonexistent.

The first hint of change comes with the scratched record effects that set the scene for “Art” where the uneven rhythms add an almost medieval feel while the heavier guitars on the chorus verge almost on dark rock. From here on in, the album does take on a more varied approach with some effective synth work and Idan’s vocals giving “Sixteen Rings (For a Memory)” a plaintive feel that is more down-to-earth and less dreamlike, a facet that becomes more pronounced hereafter as there’s a definable real world feel to the up-tempo albeit lightweight numbers “Desire,” which is a new piece that will appear on their next album, and the rougher, more authentic sounding “Fifty Four” where the brighter sounding chorus sees the band at its most upbeat. This is even the case on the languid and gently unfolding “Blossom” where the massed vocals, gentle guitar, and piano make for a sensuous feel that at over six minutes long gives the track an almost timeless feel that allows the listener to really become lost in the music. The slightly shorter “The Games They Play” achieves a similar feat again returning to the gothic styles of the earlier tracks with the constant guitar and mysterious voices being built upon, layer upon layer in a manner that is hypnotic in it repetitiveness and enthralling in its gathering momentum, showing another facet of the trademark Sophya sound.
Track list:

  1. More
  2. Another Day
  3. Captive Beauty
  4. Downstairs
  5. Art
  6. Third Wish Pt.1
  7. Sixteen Rings (For a Memory)
  8. Desire
  9. Blossom
  10. Fifty Four
  11. Desert Heart
  12. Winter Signs (The Dream II)
  13. The Games They Play
  14. Pale Blue Moon

Sophya Website
Sophya MySpace
Sophya Facebook
Sophya SoundCloud
Out of Print Records Website
Carl Jenkinson (CarlJ)

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