Soda Blonde – Dream Big
Soda Blonde’s debut album Small Talk defined 2021 for me in a way few LPs have in recent years. I obsessively played the songs; Dylan Lynch’s pounding drums and Faye O’Rourke’s heartbreakingly beautiful voice spoke directly to mid-pandemic 20-something ennui. Two years on, and the world feels different —forever changed by that time, those memories captured with amber-like clarity by Soda Blonde’s stirring and overwhelming alt-pop.
Dream Big maintains the key elements that made Soda Blonde appealing in the first place: irresistible melodies that immediately invite you to sing along (Boys and Midnight Show), the emotional gut-punch of O’Rourke’s lithe vocals, and inventive production choices that make revisiting the record not just worthwhile, but necessary. Besides avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump, the band also showcase their sonic and personal growth on the album.
Midnight Show begins the LP touching on the exploitative aspects of being an artist, especially in an era ruled by social media. The tragic beauty of the song hits you from the first moment, with swelling strings and dulcet vocals setting the scene before a disco-inflected bassline takes over. Guitarist and producer Adam O’Regan’s skilled, expressive production elevates every track, but especially Bad Machine and Space Baby.
On the former, he warps and manipulates O’Rourke’s voice on the chorus, lending extra weight to lines like, “Every part of me like a bad machine / Breaking everything all the time”.
As you reach the end of Dream Big, you’ll be itching to start it all over again.
Words: Claire Martin