Soko mines ‘80s new wave on ‘My Dreams Dictate My Reality’

Soko mines retro synths and echoed guitar tones on album.
(Luca Teuchmann / Getty Images)
Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic

A rich, oddly magnetic new wave record far removed from the artist’s introspective 2012 debut, the new “My Dreams Dictate My Reality” sees the singer known as Soko mining retro synths, echoed guitar tones suggestive of New Order and the Cure and hitting the mark without sounding (too) derivative. Unlike the claustrophobic, totally weird “I Thought I Was an Alien,” “My Dreams” is a fully hi-fi work that buzzes with beatbox rhythms and memorable post-punk melodies.

Soko doesn’t hide her inspiration. “Temporary Mood Swings” opens with a woman remarking that “you guys are so ‘80s, and you’re so warm! Knock me out!” The track then kicks off a relentless beat and melody that suggests the Waitresses, the B-52s or some lost intro music from “Square Pegs.”

“Lovetrap” is one of two tracks to feature Los Angeles artist-producer Ariel Pink. “Be my girlfriend, be my best friend, be my everything,” they sing in unison before heading beneath the sea to declare “be my merman, I want to be your mermaid.” Hardly an innovation in sound, “My Dreams” nonetheless sticks because of the artist’s way with tone, texture and structure. These are good songs, the kind that linger.



“My Dreams Dictate My Reality”

Babycat Records

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