MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Sophie ‘PRODUCT’ – Album Review

Numbers (2015)

The breakout star of the PC Music label that has divided the dance music scene its inception back in 2013, producer Samuel Long, aka Sophie, now becomes the first to release an official artist album with PRODUCT.

Available to buy in various bizarre formats—including a puffed jacket, a pair of platform shoes and most strikingly a sex toy—and with six of its eight tracks already released as singles, it’s not exactly a conventional studio effort, although it’s unlikely that many would have been expecting such a thing anyway.

Instead, PRODUCT serves as a crash-course in Sophie’s dizzying future-pop sound, a warped amalgamation of EDM, trap music and K-Pop, that has inspired both Madonna and Charli XCX to utilize his production talents over the past twelve months.

With its rubbery basslines, pitched-up cutesy vocals and sparse heavy beats, opener “Bipp” serves as a perfect introduction to the weird and wonderful world of PC Music, while the playground chanting, gleaming synths and ghost house organs of recent McDonald’s ad soundtrack “Lemonade” and the twisted helium-soaked fun-in-the-club anthem “Vyzee” also serve up the kind of sugar rush you’d normally only find in a year’s supply of M&M’s.

But this extremely premature Greatest Hits collection also proves that Sophie’s not the teeth-rotting one-trick pony some suggest. Featuring labelmate GFOTY, “Hard” flits between twinkling ambient and grimy industrial with ease, “Msmsmsm” and “Elle” venture into instrumental hip-hop and wonky Rustie-esque electronica respectively, and “L.O.V.E.” is an unsettling wall of white noise, even if the latter does border on the unlistenable.

Take away the chipmunk-like vocals, and you could easily imagine closer “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye,” fitting onto Carly Rae Jepsen or Taylor Swift’s recent records, proving that relatively straight-forward pop isn’t beyond Sophie’s grasp, either.

In the end, it’s the tracks which sound like they’ve been beamed in from another planet which prove to be the most addictive. But PRODUCT’s effortless shape-shifting suggests that whether you like it or not, Sophie and the PC Music label in general are probably here to stay.

3 / 5 stars     

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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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