“Dare to be different”. It’s a statement that many of us strive to achieve, but we often fail to live up to this mantra. Sophie Lewis, however, personifies the phrase and then some. Whereas other artists her age attempt to replicate the music of BANKS, Tove Lo, or Lady Gaga, the 20-year old singer-songwriter’s influences include Fiona Apple, Björk, and Kate Bush. Today under the moniker SPENCER, she presents her official debut single, which goes beyond the three iconic artists.
Quirky, infectious, and refreshingly unique, “Or So I Thought” is an alt-pop song that will perk your ears, raise your eyebrows, and have your shoulders shimmying for five-and-a-half minutes. It’s unlike anything you will hear on the radio, and its brilliance lies in the genre- and decade-spanning approach that Lewis and her producer, Mitchell Sloan, have concocted.
From the catchy, Vaudeville-like piano bursts that open the song to the playful creepiness akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show to whimsical musical theatrics of Ariel Pink, “Or So I Thought” could be considered the Frankenstein of pop tunes. This creation, however, is full of emotion, and its engaging voice captivates rather than evokes fear. The production of the song, too, was an enterprise in creativity. As Lewis explains:
My favorite parts of writing this song included recording 10 layers of dancing clapping sticks at 2 AM with my producer, Mitchell Sloan. We also used seven different types of shakers for the last chorus, including: a pistachio shaker, two-minute noodle shaker, and a dog food shaker.
The uniqueness does not end with the music but extends to Lewis’ lyrics, which are beyond her youth. While the relationship theme is a familiar one, her story is not. Instead of just focusing on her broken heart, Lewis also describes her bitterness, her longing to rekindle the past, and her desire to move on from her neglectful partner. That is the power of love – it pushes us away and then pulls us back despite our best efforts. In the case of “Or So I Thought” and the talent that is SPENCER, you will want to stay near because she will soon be a household name once Triple J gets a hold of this song. Hopefully it will happen in the coming days.
“Or So I Thought” is taken from SPENCER’s forthcoming, debut album, Physical Culture. It is expected in January or February of next year. A short tour of Australia’s East Coast will follow, and fellow Sydney residents Dream Good, who will release their debut album early in 2018, will accompany her.
Featured image by Joshua Heath.
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