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Soley – “Don’t Ever Listen” Review

Minimalist offerings that leave you cold

Soley’s weird and wonderful world (and creepy album covers) have kept me intrigued since her first release and her latest EP “Don’t Ever Listen” came out last month. Usually Soley sticks to haunting riffs and doesn’t overlayer her music much and for her latest EP she takes this to extremes – but it didn’t really work for me.

“N.Y. Hotel” has the tiniest and tinniest drum loop that sounds like it’s playing through a cassette recorder from the 80’s and a minimal acoustic guitar two note chord finger picks over the top. Soley herself sings in a rather Emiliana Torrini-esque style – cute and innocent – but Soley is singing words that are anything but. The result is a short a strange opener that stops without warning. “Wedding” too is minimalistic as a solemn acoustic guitar gently plucks it’s strings in a delayed stereo effect whilst Soley’s voice too is compressed down into a claustrophobic feeling. The result is a track that feels compact, taut and oppressive. “While I Sleep (Scary Adventures)” is a two minute circulation of four chords with minimal vocals for the first half before layering Soley’s lovely voice over the top. It certainly doesn’t sound scary at all and is actually a bit of solace in the oppressive opening tracks. “Don’t Ever Listen” is another two minute acoustic guitar and vocal track that sticks to a high register and feels like it ends far too soon. The second half makes the track feel like it’s getting somewhere and then it ends in a shroud of “ooh’s”. “I Will Find You” however does show that Soley’s echoing piano/vocal tricks of old still work well with a discordant and haunting closing track that goes someway to restoring the missed opportunities elsewhere.

“Don’t Ever Listen” feels so empty and unstructured, I couldn’t find a route into it – because no sooner had I found something I liked, it was over already and we’d moved onto something else that didn’t really move me. Maybe it’s because it’s so cold to listen to but it felt like these tracks were ideas that were unfinished and needed a bit more meat and length to breathe.

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