Audio Mixer: Oliver Zülch.
Recording information: Alien Research Center; Wirlstudios.
After almost a decade after their last album was released, the return of Ms. John Soda is a welcome one for lovers of low-key electronic pop played with finesse, quiet emotion, and plenty of melodic grace. The duo of Stefanie Böhm and Micha Acher are joined by new recruits Thomas Geltinger and Cico Beck on Loom, but their music is remarkably similar to what they have done in the past. Music constructed out of electronics and real instruments, songs that have a hushed don't-wake-the-neighbors feel, Böhm's tender and intimate vocals -- they are all here and utilized perfectly over the course of the record. The songs fit together like puzzle pieces, the intricately constructed arrangements combining to create a mood of introspection and calm. Even the few tracks that have a little up in their tempo (like the pulsing "Sirens") don't break a sweat; the combo is keen to keep things under firm restraint at all times. It's a perfect record for time spent pondering life's mysteries or keeping one company on a long morning drive (though at a mere 35 minutes, it would have to be repeated a few times if the journey is long), just like everything they've done. Dig a little deeper, listen a bit harder, and the small-scale feelings might just hit you pretty hard. It works well on both levels that way. A couple things are a little different on Loom, whether it's the live drums Geltinger adds to the mix or the occasional Auto-Tune added to Böhm's vocals, but mostly it sounds like they are picking up right where they left off. Even with all the changes in the music world that occurred in the time Ms. John Soda were on hiatus, there will always be a place for music this pretty, this well-constructed, and this emotionally satisfying. ~ Tim Sendra