SoKo begins I Thought I Was An Alien with something of a warning: “You will discover me through my songs/Learn my heartbreaks and fears and depression/Hear all the cracks and the lack of talent/And I hope that you don’t hate me by then.” She isn’t lying about the cracks in her voice (which are, for the record, quite becoming when paired with her speak-singing and French accent). A lack of talent, on the other hand, is not as noticeable than the lack of variation.
All 14 tracks essentially go down one of two routes. The first is a downbeat guitar picking which gets tiresome when recycled more than twice. The second is a woozy dream pop formula, marked by plodding drum machines and frail guitar accents that spin on and on into little loops. Thematically, SoKo constantly finds herself in relationships with men who care more for something else than for love, whether it’s drugs (“For Marlon”), ideologies (“Treat Your Woman Right”), or just their own lives. It’s perfectly fitted for a particular mood of disillusionment and frustration, but not much else.
This repetitiveness is accented by the individual songs’ amorphous quality. My three favorites—“First Love Never Die,” “Don’t You Touch Me” and “Destruction Of The Disgusting Ugly Hate”—don’t exactly make a break from the rest stylistically, but their foundations are more solid, as they stick with clear-cut structures and charming melodies. While many of the other songs feel trapped in one moment, these three manage to create spaces of their own.
The overall lack of lucidity doesn’t lead directly to unpleasantness, but I’m left grasping any singular impression, and almost every descriptor I can come up with seems a bit too well-defined. What remains at the end is a feeling of uncertainty. As she expresses from the start, SoKo’s songs don’t lack heart or personal significance, but they may be difficult for outsiders to digest.