Sofia Bolt - Waves - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sofia Bolt - Waves

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-06-28
Sofia Bolt - Waves
Sofia Bolt - Waves

Sofia Bolt (aka Amelie Rousseaux) fuses melodic rock music with folk and jazz brush strokes. She’s originally from France but is now located in Los Angeles, and her music is haunted by ancient sounds from the land of l’Hexagone as they swim in the waters of California’s Big Sur waves.

Speaking of Waves, the song of the same name (it’s also the title of the record) begins with an acoustic guitar and then builds with a strong rhythm and very precise bass and drums. Sofia’s voice is like a colorful dream and often ends with a hushed exclamation point. The lyrics are nicely metaphoric, as she sings, “There’s always a shark in the back of in the back of our mind.” Pensive guitar chords end the tune, and they accent the density as the song slowly swims into the sunset. 

And, there’s a second crack at the title song, this one with a big arrangement by (huge drum roll, please) Van Dyke Parks! Strings sadly sweep the song’s slow shore. It’s a lovely ending to the album, and its inclusion adds a cohesive beauty to the work as a whole.

The same is true for two brief instrumentals, “Interlude” (I & II). These are introspective moments that rest between the songs.

By the way, the before-mentioned l’Hexagone is a reference to France. I only know this because it was a great record label that released albums by (my beloved) French folk band, Malicorne. And it’s all somehow connected to a beehive. I’m always surprised by what I have learned from 33 1/3 playing rpm records.

The first song, “London,” begins with odd and casual conversations and laughter. The tune itself is about “love at first sight.” And it catches a slight Dire Straits tone, with a Fifties rock and roll stroll and a nice guitar bit that leads into a heartthrob purity of a wonderous vocal, which, if a pebble is tossed into the river of deep 70’s folk  music, recalls the strong melodic voice of Beverly Martyn, who made two records with her then husband (and legendary) John Martyn.

“Get Out of My Head” is tough stuff, and while still psychologically dark, the metaphor is long gone and what’s left is love broken into bits and pieces. The tune is framed with a great chorded guitar that gets pleasantly chaotic. Fans of (the great) Laura Marling and her Once I Was an Eagle album, take note, although, I don’t think Sofia ever dated one of the Mumford boys.

More great chords usher in the spooky “Closing Time.” Yes, ancient France haunts this tune, as does the buoyant mystic sound of “Wooden Ships” from CSN’s first album. Fans of the before-mentioned Malicorne (with Marie Yacoub singing), would find much to love. The dexterous guitar work conjures the sound of Dan Ar Braz, yet another artist from the 70’s Hexagone label.

“Ojai,” again, is that wonderful and weird combination of ancient and L.A. modern. This one conjures a 70’s folky vibe of Joni Mitchell that melodically rolls in the surf and sings about those deep and weird ocean currents. And it ends with a really nice and fluid guitar solo.

“Losing Control” is the penultimate tune (just prior to the Van Dyke Parks remake of the title song), and it struts with the confidence of my brand-new English setter pup, Matilda. Trust me. She’s a self-assured little girl. And this song struts its melody with equal melodic and patient certainty, simply allowing the drama to speak its lines. The curtains then close with a deep-sea diver of a guitar solo. Once again, this is in the same aqueous league as Laura Marling or Thea Gilmore.

This record is a melodic surf over deep and ancient psychological waters. And it’s a nice ride. The music sings with an old beauty that still, thankfully, vibrates today, because Waves are strange creatures that come and go, and then they come and go again, and will always do so while they hide deep ocean secrets that reveal themselves in bits and pieces of songs, songs that touch the ancient ways and also venture into the psychological currents of our very modern world.

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