In last week’s NME, the one about their awards show, Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry wrote about some of her favourite new acts, and among the picks, obviously enough was Bridge Monds-Watson, aka Soak. She is the first act that Mayberry has signed to her label, Goodbye Records, and explained why in the NME, saying, basically, that she was on the lookout for new female singers to play on her podcast, TYCI. Mayberry writes that she wasn’t drawn to Soak because of her age – 17 – but because of her talent, pure and simple. I think age is something that we get caught up on, particularly when it’s a race for the newest act – the younger the better, it seems. Justin Bieber is an obvious example, barely out of nappies before he took over the world, millions of girls in a YouTube viewing. Closer to Irish shores, the Strypes are a band, I feel, who have been ridiculously hyped moreso for the fact that they should only now be doing their Junior Certs rather than any obvious musical talent. It’s not their fault, I don’t think, more an industry running out of ideas and rather than finding and developing new talent they’re finding new talent but repackaging old music. Nothing I’ve heard from the Strypes suggest they’re doing anything new and exciting but it’s the idea that they themselves, the people, are new, young and are able to play. So I think it’s interesting that Mayberry claims Monds-Watson’s age wasn’t a factor; I wonder when she found out how old Soak actually was. And so we arrive at Soak’s debut EP. The title track of the Blud EP we’re already familiar with, a quiet call to arms, the smallest of rebellions: “Quit your employment, we can work without it.” Apparently ‘Blud’ was written after overhearing an argument and explores the possibilities of change thereafter. It’s a lovely song, one with a joyous chorus. The echo chamber of ‘Explosions’ is a finger-picked delight, where Monds-Watson claims that “your heart’s an explosion, makes promises it’s not capable”. The EP was produced in Donegal by Villagers guitarist Tommy McLaughlin and Monds-Watson plays all the instruments herself, bar the bass. And it does sounds really lovely, wrapping you up in a warm blanket but then telling you all the travails of Soak. And once ’24 Windowed House’ draws to a close you’ll want to hear them all over again. (There’s also a pretty boring remix by Chvrches of ‘Blud’ but the less said about that the better.) Soak is a talent, no doubt. Ireland hasn’t had a singer-songwriter to call out to in a few years – maybe Bridie Monds-Watson is the next salvation. Age certainly won’t hold her back. You can download the Blud EP by Soak over at Bandcamp or buy it on 12″ vinyl.