Soak at Union Chapel
The sheer expressive quality and universal appeal of singer-songwriters was underscored the night that saw Irish Soak (Bridie Monds-Watson) grace the beautiful, dimly lit ambience of Union Chapel, as she and her instrumental companions conducted a sold-out evening with panache and simple elegance.
Union Chapel’s historical interior, full of decorative stained glass, proved to be the ideal setting for an evening that consisted mainly of dreamy soul and folk songs from Soak’s debut album, Before We Forgot How to Dream. Shuvels, the opening tune of the set, reverberated beautifully in the backdrop with silky guitar harmonies and arpeggios rippling through the air and Bridie Monds-Watson’s hazy vocal clarity cocooning the calm audience.
The youthful and casual façade of Soak belies her heartfelt, emotionally resonant vocal talent, particularly in Blud. This story paints the picture of her parents’ relationship verging on crisis and how she wished to resolve their troubles. With such a personal narrative forming the backbone of the music, Soak addresses the song with the same poignant and passionate quality as when recording, through her graceful voice and guitar combination. Slow and restrained rhythmic foundations from the drums and harmonic textures from the shimmering synths, backing vocals and additional guitar add colour and substance to the sparse sonic presence. The backline duo continue to make a considerable impact, perhaps more so in Reckless Behaviour and Sea Creatures, where the buoyant groove comes alive with more rhythm and harmonies.
An encore which saw Soak perform a stripped-down version of 24 Windowed House and cover Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me with a country-tinged guitar backing acted as the coda to the enchanting set, and was well received by the warm crowd. Monds-Watson’s serene voice and charming personality performed every note and song to an immaculate quality. With plenty of variation between songs, in a musical journey that could have easily meandered aimlessly, a single evening spent with Soak was enough to convince the audience how breathtakingly talented she is.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information about SOAK and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Blud here: