REVIEW: SOPHIE HUNGER – MONDAY’S GHOST (2009)
I love debating the viability of international artists in the world marketplace, particularly in America. While some argue that the industry prevents international artists from our radio and markets, others see the internet started to erode that influence, allowing deserving musicians to crest those Atlantic waves and breach our shores. This year, Sophie Hunger could very well be one of the first Swiss artists to do so. I recently had the opportunity to sit in on her live show in Paris (review) and confirm her talent.
Monday’s Ghost, released already in Switzerland and France, is the sophomore release from the burgeoning Berne-born multi-instrumentalist, multilingual singer. Her powerful, emotional voice evokes Amy Winehouseand Adele, yet grounded by folk music rather than traditional pop. The young singer’s gorgeous singing translates easily into other languages, as when she switches from English to Swiss German unexpectedly on Rise and Fall and Walzer Für Niemand. This capacity allows her to not only capture the attention, but to employ different languages to evoke differing emotions.
While singer-songwriters can lull audiences with a lack of creativity, Sophie’s versatility in both language and musicianship retains the listener’s attention. Album opener Shape begins with a haunting muted trombone droning in the background, her voice the only light before breaking into restrained handclaps underneath a soaring vibrato. Round and Round builds upon this pace, teetering towards a jazzy pop number punctuated by piano. The rest of the album is a melange of styles, from pounding drumming on The Tourist towards the aforementioned Walzer Für Niemand, a gorgeous piano waltz.
The young Swiss musician is impressive, as much on piano as on acoustic guitar. Her multilingualism only adds to her enduring charm, as intricately soft and beautiful in English as well as her Swiss German. It is only time before word passes the English Channel (May 4th is the UK release, US release is unknown), enraptures and arrives in North America.