A better title for this album would have been ‘Into a Gentle Stream’.
2012, Drag City Records
4.5 / 10.0
Seemingly born with the same DNA as Destroyer’s Kaputt from last year, Sophia Knapp’s new album, Into The Waves, is adult contemporary music spanning generations, belonging to the disco era and when ‘80s aerobics music videos were cool. Vocally, Sophia Knapp packs a soulful wallop – pulling you in with an endearing voice that never plays too sultry, even when it could be expected for Into The Waves’ romantic pop. Instead, Knapp seems to be telling listeners to keep their vision at eye level rather than drifting south. While this choice does maintain a creative seriousness throughout Into The Waves, I can’t help but feel the album is a little too vanilla and maybe a shot of Spanish fly could have livened it up more.
Into The Waves isn’t without its stunners though, held back until the album’s second half. “Nothing To Lose” hints at conflict with its slow, somewhat chilly piano and mysterious lyrics, “Locked up in a prison by the sea / Window looks unto a wall” and “Dark sunglasses hide dangerous minds”. Album closer, “In Paper” sounds like it’s building to something bigger with its beginning piano and strings arrangement but maintains Into The Waves steady, consistent momentum, drifting into ‘70s era pop. While these songs work, most of Into The Waves is anchored down in the least tumultuous waters. Sophia Knapp may be comfortable not taking too many chances, but The Poseidon Adventure wasn’t an adventure until the ship capsized. Instead of taking listeners into the waves, Knapp paddles them into a gentle stream.