Small Talk is the debut album by Irish alt-rockers Soda Blonde. Hotly anticipated on the back of three acclaimed singles, Small Talk is a coming-of-age record that delves deep into the personal, with the need to explain matched by the search for answers.
“To put it simply, Small Talk is about life in our 20s,” says Soda Blonde frontwoman Faye O’Rourke, “Every part of us is in here, both subliminally and literally. Lyrically, this record is like a collection of my flaws and insecurities. They’re lingering awkwardly by the bar at a crowded social gathering, waiting to integrate with the wider world.”
O’Rourke communicates her experiences and perspective through cathartic lyricism, while guitarist Adam O’Regan, drummer Dylan Lynch, and bassist Donagh Seaver-O’Leary give each story the soundtrack it deserves.
A fine balance
Soda Blonde waste no time in grabbing your attention. On opener ‘Tiny Darkness’, we get a twisting tune that pairs deft piano with tantilising violin, with a well-paced drum beat driving the song on. Lyrically observational, ‘Tiny Darkness’ tackles the uncertainty and instability that comes with being a 20-something in Ireland at present.
This introspective theme to O’Rourke’s lyrics continues into songs such as ‘I Still Have Feelings for You’; “Heaven knows I have tried to do what’s right, Hell knows I’ve been abusing my body, To match it with my mind” and ‘Champion of My Time’; “I thought I was seeing you through me, And that is not what I wanted to be like, But if you go I know I’ll realise, That you’re the champion of my time”.
While the three released singles, ‘Small Talk’, ‘In the Heat of the Night’, and ‘Holy Roses’, may well have been chosen for their obvious radio suitability, they nonetheless address issues such as relationship conflict and resolution, even if that means ending it. Perhaps the strangest thing throughout Small Talk is that you’ll miss all this unless you listen carefully, something you can blame on the continuous flow of ear pleasing synth-pop and alt-rock hooks.
All for Small Talk?
Small Talk is a curious listen. It’s perfect for both Saturday evening BBQs and Monday morning commutes, headphones blaring to sew yourself into the sound. I can hear it being just as comfortable at a festival as it is here in my little home office.
When it comes down to it, there’s no use in me trying to summarise Small Talk for you in one word, so I’ll instead give a simple recommendation: go listen to the album.
Soda Blonde Socials and Tour Dates
August 13 – 15 Wild Roots Festival, Sligo, Ireland
August 27 + 28 SoFFT Nights, Co. Meath, Ireland
September 08 Mike the Pies, Co. Kerry, Ireland
September 09 Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Ireland
September 10 Dolan’s Warehouse, Co. Limerick, Ireland
September 11 Roisin Dubh, Galway, Ireland
September 12 Whelan’s, Dublin Ireland
September 19 Belfast Empire Music Hall, Belfast, UK
September 21 Broadcast, Glasgow, UK
September 22 YES, Manchester, UK
September 23 Sebright Arms, London, UK
July 17. 2022 Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, Ireland (with Sinead O’Connor)
Follow reclessreviews on social media!