Today’s POP RESCUE is the 11-track 1991 second album Goddess by pop trio Soho. Is this album Goddess-like, or simply a false prophet? Read on…
Soho hit on chart success on the second release of their single Hippychick. This earned them a few appearances on Top Of The Pops, and a top 10 hit in the UK. This album then followed, and is home to 4 singles.
Love Generation, the second single, opens the album, and it’s an upbeat track, introduced by some great guitars and beats. The track is an up-lifting indie guitar track, and the vocals of sisters Pauline and Jacqui Cuff really shine here. The track also has a fake ending, giving you almost another minute and a half of song once it fades back in.
Next up is the hit Hippychick. It features a sample of How Soon Is Now by The Smiths, laid over a Soul II Soul beat (Back To Life, i think). I think that this is a great little track, and I still have my 7″ single version, complete with Taxi b-side.
‘Got no flowers for your gun – no hippychick‘ the sisters sing. This track really stood out amongst the pop of 1990’s music, but sat perfectly amongst the ‘Baggy’ music scene, that helped acts like Candy Flip (with their great cover of Strawberry Fields Forever) and the sound of The Happy Mondays find chart success.
Next up is the mellow Out Of My Mind, which is another great track. The vocals and music seem perfectly entwined here, and almost timeless. However, fourth track Shake Your Thing takes on a different style, and is quite chilled out, but vocally and lyrically this track feels weak against its predecessors.
The tempo increases with the closing track of side one, Freaky, a track that would now earn the album an ‘explicit’ sticker (or a bleep) for a sample right near the start (‘you’re so fucking hot’). This is probably the closest to ‘dance’ that the album has got so far, as it has plenty of samples, and a dance synth and beats sound to it, but also throws in guitar solo. This track released in the US (only) as a single in 1990 after the first release of Hippychick stalled in the UK at #67. After this single, Hippychick was re-released and gave the band their hit. Perhaps this song should have been re-released as well, and in the UK?
Side two of this vinyl album opens with Another Year – which starts off like an R.E.M track, before introducing an orchestra and the vocals arrive. It’s a nice slow beat-less track, of vocals, guitar, bass, and strings. It feels a little odd to open an album side with this track. It feels more like a closing track.
‘Turn myself off’ repeats the sample that opens track Girl On A Motorbike – but don’t! Within seconds you’re launched into a wonderful bassline. This is a great song that builds alongside the wandering bassline, with some delicious beats, and the Cuff sisters’ vocals perfectly blended in.
Next up, is Nuthin’ On My Mind, which makes me instantly feel like it’s a missing Saint Etienne track (People Get Real being the closest). It’s up-tempo, but the vocals keep it relaxed, complemented by the ‘shaw-laa-laa-laa-la-la-laa-laa-laaaa’ section. This song was used on the soundtrack of the 1991 film Career Opportunities.
God’s Little Joke seems to be a nod to the 1960s, and I swear that a pseudo-Elvis crops up at the start. At a little over 2 minutes long, this track is a fun little track tucked away on side two.
This then soon brings in Boy ’90 – a remix of an earlier single. This is definitely along the dance/baggy style, but vocally, the sisters sound a little muted against the bassline and drum sample.
The album closes with the title track Goddess, which opens slowly with some old TV/film samples, and some great electronic synth soundscapes. About 2 minutes, the beats, electronic bassline breaks in, and ends up sounding like the opening to an Erasure track. A sample of The Four Tops‘ track Big Girls Don’t Cry ushers in some fantastic vocals, and suddenly you realise that this is actually an all-out unashamed pop track.
‘Gotta be a Goddess’ the sisters sing. And with this track, you could have been.
Where are Soho now?
Soho continued to write, record, and release albums and singles after this album, but never managed to repeat the success of that which they found through their Hippychick single.
The group recorded Born To Be Alive in 1991 with Adamski, but it stalled in the UK singles chart at #51.
The group disbanded in about 1999.
Most recently, the Goddess album was re-issued by Cherry Red Records with extra tracks, and the Soho website continues to be updated.
POP RESCUE 2014 RATING:
Ending on a high note, this album has a bit of a mixed sound, but only a couple of the tracks let it down through either some unequal battles between vocals and music, or some weak lyrics.
I’m glad that I picked this album up, as it’s let me explore the music of Soho beyond their single Hippychick. They’ve been greatly overlooked.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1990 UK CHART POSITION: Didn’t chart in the UK.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a British Heart Foundation store. The sleeve carries an original Our Price store sticker with £6.49 on it.