Soft Riot’s sixth studio album The Outsider In The Mirrors has just been officially released. I rushed to check out what JJD, the man behind the project, has for us in 2018. The album is a collection of eight outstanding electronic music tunes. But that’s far from the accurate description. It’s not so easy to pinpoint Jack’s music expression. Although his work undoubtedly reflects post-punk, new-wave, synth-pop influences, Soft Riot delivers the ideas in the unpredictable manner. His songs sound nostalgic or melancholic at times, yet poppy and uplifting at others. We can find a mixture of different moods in each individual track; he balances between the feelings of urban alienation, isolation and anxiety, and wraps them up in humour and irony. The feelings intertwine and the listener is never left with the gloomy feeling, on the contrary; the songs are made to dance to and they invoke the positive approach to the subject matter.
The Outsider In The Mirrors is in a way a biographical album; it was written during Jack’s move from Sheffield to Glasgow. However, Jack’s feelings of alienation and separation are not unique. Many of us can identify with the feelings of isolation in today’s society where people live fast and move like modern nomads, which leaves them feeling disconnected. Yet, Jack’s witty nature surfaces even when he speaks about less pleasant experiences and feelings. If you listen carefully, you can find humour in unusual synth arrangements and melody twists and lyrics. The album gives us catchy numbers, which can be a great dancing material or a simple home enjoyment.
The title is enigmatic; you can imagine seeing yourself in the mirror while observing the image as the outsider, the person who doesn’t belong and is disconnected from oneself.
It is difficult to choose the favourite track. The album offers poppy, pulsing and catchy songs like “The Eyes On The Walls”, “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize”, “Waiting For Something Terrible To Happen”, a more obscure piece “He’s Gone Underground”, a slow-dancer with great synth melodies “Now World Romancer”, and a softer and more melancholic “The Saddest Music In The World”. He closes the album with “The Outsider In The Mirrors”, which rounds up the album perfectly; the ideas which are present through the album are summed up at the very end… we’re all just outsiders in the mirrors…
The album is released on Possession Records, a home for the next Soft Riot releases. It is released as an LP, CD, and cassette and in the digital format. You can get your copy here: http://www.possessionrecords.com or http://www.softriot.com
You can read the interview with JJD here: http://www.altvenger.com/jack-duckworth-talks-about-soft-riot/
The first video from this album was filmed for the opener “The Eyes On The Walls”. It elaborates further on alienation, “existential nihilism” and “pain” of the modern life, however, not without Jack’s usual dose of humour and irony.