Sophie Hunger - The Danger of Light (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
SWITZERLAND’S Sophie Hunger serves notice of her immense talent with the release of her striking third album The Danger of Light.
Featuring lyrics that segue seamlessly between languages, admist climatic instrumental breaks which are peppered with muted brass and intricate guitar figures, this is an eclectic listen that offers something for everyone to enjoy.
Admittedly, there are some tracks that require more getting used to, while those sung in her native tongue (which meticulously composed) don’t always translate as well as those in the English language.
But when she serves up a highlight, the result is quite often breathtaking and never the same twice.
Take the jazz-funk of Holy Hells as a prime example… a song that unleashes a striking, confident set of vocals against a snappy percussion and some cool stabs of brass. It’ll get those toes tapping.
And yet such a moment comes in stark contrast to another favourite, the dusky, stripped back and utterly smoky Can You See Me?, a moment that finds Hunger at her most intimate and sensitive. The musical arrangements are stunning.
There’s a classic jazz shuffle to the playful LikeLikeLike with Hunger once more adapting her vocal style to come over more playful. The piano arrangements here are great and hark back to a more traditional style.
Souldier, meanwhile, has a sombre piano arrangement that’s very cinematic, neatly complimenting the moody lyrics to serve up another easy pick.
Album opener Rerevolution sets things in motion in typically impressive fashion amid some urgent piano chimes, while Take A Turn ends things in soothing fashion, the song set against some lush acoustic strumming and more intelligent lyricism, before rounding things off with some Dylan-esque harmonica.
For those who don’t know her yet, Hunger was raised the daughter of a diplomat between homes in Switzerland, Germany and the UK, and was weaned on an idiosyncratic musical diet of classical music and jazz.
Her 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 and she impressed last year on the John Peel Glastonbury Stage at Glastonbury.
This latest collection of songs only looks set to raise her profile and global appeal still higher.
Download picks: Rerevolution, LikeLikeLike, Can You See Me?, Holy Hells, Take A Turn, The Fallen, Souldier