Album Review: The SoapGirls – In My Skin

The SoapGirls consider themselves to be Alternative Rock/Punk Post Grunge musicians with pop sensibilities, and it’s fair to say that they really run the gamut as I’ve covered their music across several years as they’ve developed and explored various genres and styles of music. They are made up of French-born, South African raised sisters, Noemie Debray, the Guitarist and Co-Vocalist, and Camille Debray, the bassist and Co-Vocalist. Their brother Redd Valentino Debray occasionally joins them as well, as well as various session drummers when touring and recording. As I touched on above, I have reviewed them previously and you can check that out here, and they were also nice enough to sit down for an interview which you can check out here

So that’s enough about who they are for now, let’s move on to why we are here today, because I will be reviewing their fifth studio album, In My Skin, which was released on 18th June 2022.

‘Breathe’ hammers forward a frenzy of high energy strings and percussion, creating a really weighty and powerful track, it tapers off slightly in intensity as the vocals blend in, matching their softer voices, providing a powerful backdrop to their singing. I really liked this opening track, it had a really good momentum and vibe to it, and you just get caught up in the relentless guitar and bass fueled melody. I’ve already talked previously about The SoapGirls voices, I think they have a very strong vocal talent that lends itself to many genres and styles and that holds true here, their lighter vocals against the harder backing creates a really nice juxtaposition that works really well. 

‘Liar’ opens with the vocals and we get to see a deeper, harder edge to their voice, against the strong guitar fuelled melody, it’s intense and the vocals match that, you get a powerful confrontational vibe that floats through the song and just gives this track a sense of vibrancy and personality. It’s slower than the previous track but still makes good use of the heavier backing, and as I say it lets the sisters really stretch themselves vocally. 

‘Demons’ is very bass and percussion forward, creating this big, heavy and dark melody, this is reinforced by the slightly synth augmented vocals that add edge and audio texture into the mix creating a very distinct and engaging track. As I mentioned there are electronic undertones, and it adds an almost ethereal quality to the performance especially when balanced out by the hard and heavy drums and weight basslines. 

‘Wasted’ kicks off with more energy, tight strings creating a nice rhythm, backed up by a percussive undertone, that all bleed into the vocals, speaking of which this has a nice blend of vocals, we have some deeper more throaty vocals, combined and counterpointed by faster, more smoky vocals. It works really well for the track, creating a nice balance throughout. 

‘In My Skin’ kicks off with drums, immediately joined by an outstanding string riff that just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. We have more throaty vocals, that kind of remind me of Amy Winehouse, it all works really well. I sometimes worry that I don’t talk about drums enough, so I’d like to take a moment to just say that the percussion in this track was top notch, really worked well with the feel of the track, adding depth and rhythm and structure and all that good stuff. As the title track of this album it has an added pressure to be good, and in that regard it succeeds, in fact while it’s very close as this is a very strong album, this track takes the top slot for me.

‘Breakdown’ kicks off with a nice percussion and bass blend that supports some lower toned vocals, it’s got a really nice bounce and rhythm to it, it sort of builds as well, to…well I guess you’d call it a breakdown. Terrible jokes aside, it’s really good, a slow, methodical build, that has a strong pay off and it holds up even following directly on from my personal favourite track on the album. This one has some seriously phenomenal guitarwork that just blows my mind. 

‘Medicated Bubble Bath’ opens with a very punk inspired audio from the sisters, very angry and impassioned, I really liked it. Surprisingly though this wasn’t as harsh a sound as I was expecting, it was melodic and very even in tempo. It’s a really strong track, although despite being more subdued than I was expecting, if you actually tune in to the lyrics you hear the punk energy paid off in the sentiments spoken aloud. 

‘Heart in Bloom’ has more incredible strings, backed up by a nice energetic percussion fill that helps to build energy. I’m sure I mentioned it when I talked about this track previously but the guitar melody reminds me a little of the theme song from The Batman, the 2004 animated series based on the comic book character of the same name, and not to be confused with the 2022 movie, also of the same name. Enough Batman though, this track has a really nice energy, a little melancholic and on the slow side of up tempo but it’s really good, and probably snags my second favourite on the album. 

‘She Don’t Wanna’ has a really strong rhythmic beat right off the bat, a perfect fusion of bass and drums, that just carry us forward, energetic without losing control, and building while giving them room to grow. I’ve talked about their vocals surprisingly little on this album, and less than I usually do when reviewing an artist but this is by no means a rebuke because this album is full of strong vocal work and this track has some of the best. 

‘Broken Melody’ has a very heavy and immediately building string intro, that has undercurrents of melody that build throughout, it’s a simple enough instrumental accompaniment but it creates a really strong platform for the vocals, which are deep and smoky and you just get caught up in the performance. This one is softer overall though, more melodic for the most part although the screamo inspired vocals around the late minute mark really added something different to the whole track. 

‘Summer Rain’ has a funky little intro, an electronic infused melody that’s slow and ambient and just fills the room, the heavier guitars over the top as it progresses change the energy, but the vibe of the early track is still at the heart of the performance. I think the heavier, more energetic sections serve to balance the track, creating a nice counterpoint in the overall melody that keeps your attention.

‘Psycho’ kicks things back up a notch after the slower pace of the previous track, urgent guitars fill the space and link up with the vocals, the vocals throughout all of these tracks tend to remain consistent in energy, meaning that they act almost as a balance to each track, no matter how fast or slow, hard or soft the melody is, the vocals provide a central guiding tempo and energy that unites each track and creates a nice follow through from one track to another. That’s not to suggest that their vocals sound the same, far from it, and even in this track they have some superb screamo sections which firmly shake things up, before returning to the baseline. 

‘Promise You’ is a rush of percussion and strings, the vocals flow in, a nice back and forth between the instrumentals and voices, one taking over from the over almost, it’s a nice little melodic conversation almost that works really well. I really liked that the backing melody never relented, whether up front, or taking a back seat it just hammered forward and it really added something as we close in on the end of the album. 

‘Kill Breed’ is heavy and hammers, again it does a fun thing with the back and forth, the stops and starts that create a very distinct vibe. It’s a very strong track to see us out, it’s not overwhelming but it has intense moments and it’s just a superb performance that reminds me why I’m a fan of The SoapGirls. 

So that’s what I thought of The SoapGirls album ‘In My Skin’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. While you’re at it, make sure and support the band by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by visiting their website.

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