Review: The Soap Company – I Keep Dreaming About You
Published on January 10th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Following on from last year’s Amyl Nights, which charted at number 33 in our top 100 albums of 2013, I Keep Dreaming About You is The Soap Company’s fourth album in as many years and the boldest realisation yet of Anthony Barrett’s technicolour genre-mashing.
It’s stunning right from the word go, something menacing lurking within the lusciously thick applications of fizzy synth pads and sultry female speak-singing that distinguish “Bad Times”.
The ensuing “American Glow” just soars, weaving in and out of ingeniously stitched-together keys with a melodic expertise eschewed by so many other synth-pop protagonists in favour of vacuous catwalk posturing.
I Keep Dreaming About You is a succession of strange splendours providing the velvet glove around the clenched fist of The Soap Company’s urgently relevant lyrical concerns – “New Dark Age” in particular is a spot-on summation of spoon-fed celebrity culture, arrived just in time to coincide with another suffocating series of Celebrity Big Brother.
As if to emphasise the deceptively prevalent sense of squalor and foreboding across the album, an insect theme emerges: firstly with the dark melodrama of “Insect Banquet”, and then with the absolutely magnificent “Ex-Tamer Lion”, a barmy rush implored onwards by the berserk cries of a Japanese lass bemoaning the presence of various insects in her house.
Playful psychedelia and biting satire have always played well together in The Soap Company’s classroom, and now they’ve a new playmate in bleakness: there’s even a track titled “B.L.E.A.K.”, as well as “Distortion at Ozone Park”, which is startlingly bleak, like recent vintage Flaming Lips insomuch as it is utterly mesmerising with it.
“Are You Actually Alive?” brings us back into the light, space-prog trip that it is, before “Mercedes Benzedrine” rounds things off on a sort of ‘My Bloody Valentine meets Stereolab’ note, which is to say of course that it’s flippin’ fantastic.
The Soap Company’s previous two LPs Big Bang and Amyl Nights each merited four and a half quails, and I Keep Dreaming About You is even better than both of them. It only stands to reason, then, that our first five-quailer of the year should arrive somewhat earlier than usual…
Rocksucker says: Five Quails out of Five!
Buy “I Keep Dreaming About You” and check out the custom-made videos for each track on The Soap Company’s website.