For over a year, I’ve been privileged enough to have been given a secret look in at an exciting project from DROMA Records.
Remember them? DROMA Records, the creative project of brother/sister duo Jack Tasker and Sophie Bret Tasker. Still in its infancy really and yet already a significant heavyweight in the Staffordshire music scene, thanks to a growing number of artists who have had the pleasure of collaborating with them and producing music with them.
So when something arrived in my inbox from Sophie Bret Tasker, I got very excited. Even more so when I realised that this wasn’t from a DROMA artist, but actually from Sophie herself. If you’ve listened to the latest Don’t Call Me Ishmael album, or, indeed, any of the most recent Taskrz records, then you’ll have probably already have wondered where Sophie’s solo release is. It’s true that after the release of Don’t Call Me Ishmael’s second album ‘I’m Broken But I’m Fine’, second to the unique songwriting style of Gary Wilcox, the subject that received the most airtime from listeners was Sophie Bret Tasker’s staggering vocals on their single ‘To The Moon’. Her heavy vocals cut through the track like a razor and cover the song in a chocolatey layer of pure bliss.
But that was then and this is very much now.
That something that arrived in my inbox back in October of 2016, would later become her debut release as Futurewife. And what a release it is.
‘Nicest Day’ is a four-track EP, made up of three fully formed songs and one opening collision of sounds, beats and harmonies titled ‘Pram’. This is followed by ‘Again and Again’, the leading single from the EP, which elegantly introduces you to Sophie Bret Tasker and the thing that’s been pulling focus for the last 18 months. ‘Again and Again’ carries an entirely funk-inspired guitar riff, that, if it wasn’t for the ahead of its time synthesized sounds and the electrifying ending, could easily be placed amongst some classic 80’s pop records.
‘The Nicest Day I Can Remember’, the track that made BBC Introducing Stoke sit up and listen and finally offer her a chance to debut her work live on air, is one of the most personal pieces on the EP. It’s the one that I distinctly remember listening to late at night, after receiving another exciting email from Tasker herself, telling me she’d been working on the experimental side project.
Her lyrics, so raw and personal, are masked by her ability to make some of the funkiest beats known to local music. And, with a little help from brother Jack Tasker and mixing master Tom Bath of UTC Studios, those beats are the reason you end up hooked on her sound.
Wrapping up ‘Nicest Day’ is the sombre ‘In Our House’, a track that is mainly led by its bongo beats and simple soft synths. Tasker’s vocals float effortlessly on top of what lies beneath this track, slithering in a reflective dream-like state, before reaching their peak midway to produce a noisy chasm of sound. Much like ‘The Nicest Day I Can Remember’ the lyrics are real, openly discussing some of the hardest and most heartbreaking moments in Sophie Bret Tasker’s life.
‘Nicest Day’ is a spellbinding debut release, from a musician who is known for everything but creating electronic experimental music. It makes you wonder how long Sophie Bret Tasker has been sat on this urge to break out and create something of her own; something so different, yet so brilliantly unique.
What matters now, however, is that Futurewife has been born and with it, a brand new collection of songs and stories awaits.