Soap&Skin -‘Narrow’ (PIAS)
Soap&Skin is the work of one Anja Plaschg, an Austrian lass barely out of her teens. This eight track album is barely half an hour long, and fantastic as it is, when you hear it, you will feel that that is all it needs to be. Plaschg once played the legendary Nico on the Berlin stage, and like Nico’s classic albums The Marble Index and Desertshore, it’s a work of art that demands your attention and will leave you feeling wowed but drained by the end of it.
It’s not to say that there isn’t beauty here, because there most certainly is. Desireless’ 1988 hit ‘Voyage Voyage’ is transformed from a dark french disco number into something else; echoing the Norweigian singer Susanna’s way of transforming songs into something darker by stripping it to the shell of the song and the bleak experience within. ‘Wonder’ has picked up some radio play, and seems like a lullaby. But there are also moments like the violent ‘Deathmental’ and the songs that bookend the album ‘Vater’ and ‘Big Hand Nails Down’ that are compellling as they are frightening.
Not an easy listen, but one you won’t forget.
Narrow is out now on PIAS