There’s a raw urgency to Soft as Snow’s debut album, which when you hear it in the context of their previous two EPs, might sound like an evolution in their work. It’s only when you experience Oda Egjar Starheim and Øystein Monsen perform these songs live that you realise that urgency has been there all along and it’s only now fully realised in the recorded format for the first time.
“I think we got closer to keeping the music how it was conceived,” Oda explains, and it’s during their live performances, during the performance of ‘Tropical Speed’ that the connection between the intensity of the record and its origins is obvious.
Monsen’s broken-beat rhythmical pattern on that track is all down to a potent physical exertion that is relayed exactly like that on the record too. On the record, ‘Tropical Speed’ communicates this perfectly and it has the unnerving effect to manifest itself in the listener. It’s very much the climax of an album that builds to that incredibly intense point, a contrast from the start of the album, where a simple beat ushers in the album, somewhat inconspicuously.
Starheim’s background as a performance artist, and Monsen’s ascent through the Oslo noise/rock scene is more distinct than it’s ever been on the previous releases. Layers of jagged distortion jut out from the surface of tracks, while Starheim’s voice splutters and croons in a very cognitive way. There’s a fluidity between her voice and the various synthesised textures that embeds her vocals in the fabric of the music, rather than offering traditional accompaniment-vocal arrangement.
As a debut album it consolidates the nature of their live act in the presentation of the recorded format, and where their previous EPs ‘Glass Body’ and ‘Chrysalis’ were tentative steps towards finding their feet in the studio, ‘Deep Wave’ is them planting their feet firmly in that context. It’s a bold, unforgiving album that demands the listener’s attention, and like their live show is completely alluring and incredibly potent.
"Their music has an inner strength that curls and coils skyward, shooting lasers into infinity” The FADER
“Wild, impressionistic electronic music that splits the difference between Purity Ring’s exquisite beat-driven pop songs and The Knife’s brain-blasting experiments” Stereogum
“Soft as Snow will gladly slot their atmospheric, expansive synthpop right next to the bleeding edge of dance music. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship” Tiny Mix Tapes
“Listening can be a mesmerizing experience, showcasing an idiosyncratic brand of euphoric pop that meshes a pervasive air of the uncanny” Dummy
“Raining down a storm of analog synths, esoteric drum machines and strange samples. Ecstatic, electro-visceral productions” Impose
“Psych-out pop” Dazed