Soak somehow manages to clock a sound that's somewhere between dreamy Brit-pop, surf-rock and pop.

The 22-year-old, whose real name is Bridie Monds-Watson, switches between jangly guitars, piano ballads and 80s synths to create an album which is upbeat and twee, while simultaneously melancholic and... well, grim.

Similarly, her vocals run the gamut from pure and childlike to rock grit, as on Get Set Go Kid, and up to a gorgeously pure higher register like on Crying Your Eyes Out.

Where Watson's 2015 debut, Before We Forgot How to Dream, was about breaking out of confines and finding herself, Grim Town is about getting out and realising it wasn't everything you thought it would be.


Still, with four years under her belt since the last release, she is now more assured, honest and a little more ballsy. Her lyricism is just as poetic as ever - her last album made her one of the youngest-ever nominees for the UK's Mercury Prize, and this album doesn't disappoint.

She sets the scene with "all aboard" a spoken-word intro in which passengers are welcomed aboard a nightmare journey to Grim Town - a journey for "the lonely, the disenfranchised, the disillusioned, the lost".

I'd hoped what followed would be part of a concept album tracking that journey. It's not. Not explicitly, at least.

But at the same time, as Watson navigates love, loss, depression, anxiety and the modern world -from sex and partying, to politics and news headlines - it becomes clear Grim Town isn't the destination, it's the journey that is life and this album is a record of how that all feels.

It also comes complete with the promise that everything will get better, once you get to where you're going.

It's not going to be the kind of album you blast to get through a workday, it's one you have to sit with and ground your feet in. It feels less like a modern pop album and more like an art piece, with stories and killer lines to be broken down and extracted like secrets.

SOAK, Grim Town

Artist: SOAK
Album: Grim Town
Label: Rough Trade
Verdict: A brilliant and beautiful postcard from Grim Town.