The Last Mixed Tape reviews Bath Time the debut studio album from songwriter Maija Sofia.
There’s something about the music of Maija Sofia. It seems to occupy the periphery, the other, a place just out of reach. In Bath Time, Sofia’s debut offering, there’s an air of gothic poetry and neo-romantic tragedy put through a modernist lo-fi prism that allows us to hear the stories being told but at a distance. Indeed, this is an album that gives voice to those robbed of it and we must listen.
Bath Time is an album with a strong thematic thread that runs right though it. The dreamlike nature of the music is wrapped in Maija Sofia’s expressionistic storytelling as she takes us through a history of women silenced and misrepresented by the stories of others. This is mirrored through a production that comes in waves around Sofia’s haunting vocal as it sometimes obscures her voice in bristling swell of noise, see ‘Cobweb’ or lets it ring out in the closing swaying moments of ‘The Glitter’.
This interplay between the songwriting and the production makes it all the more important to hang on and follow Sofia from one tale to the next. Whether it be hypocrisy of the Catholic church portrayed with pin-point persistence in ‘Hail Mary’ or the heart-wrenching performance found at the heart of ‘Edie Sedgwick’, Maija Sofia is our hook, immoveable and sitting above the lo-fi indie-folk edges of the music that weave beneath. This clarity in her performance is essential to Bath Time as a whole.
However, its the harrowing ‘The Wife Of Michael Cleary’ that creates the high-water mark in album that is already breath-taking by itself. Written about Bridget Cleary who was last ‘witch’ burned in Ireland, the song is haunting. Set upon a bed of slow-moving jangled guitar and melancholic strings, Sofia is at her most captivating as she embodies the sorrow, the doom and the distress of Cleary’s story with a vocal performance that truly brought me to tears.
Bath Time is a work of gothic art. There’s a awe-inspiring depth to the music as the record feels as if its been broadcast from another time and place as echoes in our ears from start to finish. Maija Sofia’s debut is a triumph and this is an album that needs to be heard.
Bath Time by Maija Sofia is due for release on November 22nd via Trapped Animal Records & Cargo Records.