New Album Review – ‘The Danger Of Light’ by Sophie Hunger
Switzerland’s Sophie Hunger is set to return with her third album ‘‘The Danger Of Light’’, released in the UK on 28 January 2013.
The release of ‘The Danger Of Light’ follows a characteristically prolific 2012 for Sophie. In Spring she produced and staged a one-man show entitled “Bob Dylan – Be Part of My Dream“ in Paris, a run which was reprised this Summer at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Hunger also took time to contribute to Cornelia Rainer’s play ‘Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz‘ at the Salzburger Festspiele. Amidst these commitments, Sophie recorded the new album (her third studio release) in sessions between Europe and America, with an eclectic roll call of contributors including Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Nathaniel Walcott (Bright Eyes) and Steven Nistor (Danger Mouse). With Adam Samuels (Warpaint, John Frusciante) at the production helm, ‘The Danger Of Light’ further evidences the precocity which Sophie has hitherto made her creative blueprint.
Raised the daughter of a diplomat between homes in Switzerland, Germany and the UK, and weaned on an idiosyncratic musical diet of classical music and jazz, Hunger‘s less than ordinary life is reflected across her work. She recorded her first album ’Sketches By The Sea‘ in her own front room, and went on to sell several thousand copies through word of mouth alone. Her subsequent studio release ’Monday’s Ghost‘ and ’1983‘ both went to Number 1 in the Swiss album charts. In 2012 Hunger appeared on the John Peel Glastonbury Stage, which in no mean feat saw her become the first Swiss artist to ever play the festival. Sophie Hunger is also a keen political commentator, and has long contributed critically acclaimed columns to the German newspaper De Zeit.
The new album is full of haunting lyrics and a complex melding of voice and piano throughout. A nice chill out album but not one simply to play in the background as every song has a story and most are well thought out. It consists of 11 tracks
The stand out track is ‘LikeLikeLike’ which has a smoky memory of Louis Jordan but brought bang up to date for the naughties. I really liked this track with nice simple lyrics with lines like these:
“I know I’m not supposed to look at you the way I look at you”.
“So I strictly watch my feet when I’m walking down the street with you”.
‘Rererevolution’ cries out in personal angst and is another good listen. ‘Souldier’ has a smouldering sadness that made me listen to it three times before moving on – I thought that this particular track actually could be very commercial. The neat mix of Jazz and Indie in ‘The Fallen’ and Perpetrator ‘ was also pretty cool.
Throughout the album Sophie moves across different language. However, in German I was less taken by ‘Das Neue’ and ‘Z’Lied vor Freiheitsstatue’ .
There were a few tracks on the album that were weaker for me – ‘Can You See Me?’, ‘Heharun’, ‘Holy Hells’ and ‘Take a Turn’.
You can see the jazz influence that gives Sophie’s music a very unique sound throughout the album and that makes it more interesting than a lot of the same-old-same-old music currently on the market. If you want to chill and listen to something different this is an interesting addition to the collection. If you want something to pump you up then look elsewhere.
Review by Doug Duffin