Returning repackaged and with a fresh sound, Soda Blonde’s incredible debut Small Talk emerged back in 2021 out of the ashes of much-loved Irish indie rock outfit, Little Green Cars.
Built on the experience of their previous outfit, the musicianship on Small Talk was exquisitely mastered, with the lyrics as stirring as they’d ever been under their previous guise. Although technically a debut it was a very accomplished record, with the four remaining members steadily navigating shimmering alt-pop tracks built on self-reflection, heartbreak and difficult relationships – be it with former lovers, family members or even strangers online.
That debut would go on to receive a nomination for the Irish Choice Prize, marking a career-best moment for the ever-evolving outfit. Now with this new sophomore outing titled Dream Big, Soda Blonde have managed to set themselves yet another new standard, delivering a stunning record that lives up to its name and surpasses even the lofty highs set on its predecessor.
Full of confidence, Soda Blonde are sounding even more assured in their new skin, with Dream Big presenting a stunning collection of songs full of breathtaking musical variety and killer hooks.
The opening run of ‘Midnight Show’, ‘Bad Machine’, ‘Boys’ and the title track is particularly mesmerising, as the band guide you through glorious arrangements full of strings, rhythmic guitars and clusters of memorable moments. That’s not to say the back half doesn’t deliver too though as the gorgeous ‘An Accident’ strips things back for a beautiful moment of vulnerability.
After that, ‘My First Name’ sees frontwoman Faye O’Rourke’s majestic vocals stand out amongst a magnificent collage of strings, bluesy guitars and stomping drums for one of the record’s biggest highlights. ‘Going Out’ then gives the album the grandstand finish it richly deserves, a towering 7-minute epic that sees every member of the band operating at the highest possible level.
This is a phenomenal record from start to finish and another effort that goes straight near the top of the pile for 2023 in my eyes. So, if you haven’t heard Soda Blonde before, now is the time to get yourself acquainted.