Sometimes as a writer, I’m faced with a difficult challenge: to write about music that strays far beyond the typical realms of music that I generally cover. Soma’s new project Sadhouse seems to fit that description like a glove, its hypnotic title track layering the autotune on thick over a metronomic, EDM-inspired beat. Vocally, the songs on Sadhouse take heavily from late 2000’s emo and pop punk, the anguish in Soma’s cries easily as effective as the music that those bands crafted from their own experiences.
This is still a rap project through and through, however. No other genre of music is adapt to a specifc singer’s sound like hip-hop, here it’s whokilledcj that is tasked with molding his craft into something symbiotic with the main artist’s vision. Working on every track here, the producer creates grand visages with his incredible synth work, grounds Soma’s more extreme vocalisations with meaty drum patterns, and most remarkably, on songs like ‘Pain Reliever’, adapts quickly to shifting song dynamics by tranforming tracks from throa-tearing screamo-pop to melancholy bedroom pop antics. On this track, the Canadian rapper exposes his full vocal arsenal with intense, growled verses.
The duo explore plenty of musical avenues on this release, ‘Underground Discotheque’ is more trap-flavoured while ‘3 Month Intermission’ is a full on emo ballad with pretty chord progressions and a subdued rhythm section. On ‘Stay Where It’s Safest’, Soma’s vocals are offset by an impressive contribution from Negatives, whose tender, whispered tones anchor the song in calmer territory.
Lyrically, the project is as bleak and self-deprecating as you’d imagine, and the samples scattered throughout only drive the loneliness of the songs they’re featured on even harder. ‘Settle’ encapsulates all of this very well, partially abandoning vocal effects to exacerbate the pain and abandonment in Soma’s voice. It’s not an entirely gloomy track, but it certainly sounds like the downtrodden, world-weary closer that Sadhouse deserved.
Listen to the project in full here.