Soak, AKA Bridie Monds-Watson, first started writing material for this album before she could legally drink alcohol; there is a certain amount of teenage hand-wringing here, but some other less wide-eyed insight, too. It’s a debut that shows potential, but falls just short of the songwriting spark hinted at on her second EP, 2012’s Sea Creatures. The Derry singer’s cocooning, husky voice sounds as delicately expressive as always, creaking on the single Blud – about overhearing her parents arguing with an ear pressed to her bedroom floorboards – and Hailstones Don’t Hurt. The finger-picked acoustic-guitar lines and wistful melodies that first won her attention during her Other Voices festival performance in 2013 are bolstered with tinkling piano and occasional strings. Before We Forgot How to Dream is prone to a few plodding, mid-tempo slumps, but the likes of Gardens and Reckless Behaviour make up for them. It’s not quite dazzling, but a fine showing for a young artist.
Tshepo Mokoena is a freelance journalist