Sophie Coran | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | courtesy of the artist
Sophie Coran builds on her distinct style with new LP S P A C E and more
On her debut record, Philly’s Sophie Coran uses lyrical references like oceans and outer space as anchor points for the spaces she takes listeners to, a nod to its title: S P A C E.
After years of releasing singles, Coran buckled down with her longtime collaborators, including producer and engineer Michael Cumming and her bandmates Logan Roth and Arjun Dube of Trap Rabbit and bassist Mike Morrongiello, to produce the new project.
Collaborations have been frequent for Coran as of late, as she lent her vocals to electronic pop producer Keegan Tawa’s project Startide. The project is described as a “programmatic science fiction piece, describing the journey of two lovers who become pulled apart in both space and time.” A cycle of soundscapes meant to experienced in its entirety rather than as individual songs, the techno roots of Startide display a versatility to Coran’s vocals that is evident in the production of her own record as well.
There’s a universality to S P A C E that emerges from central themes of identity and how it can be shaped by someone else. Coran’s songwriting strengthens the cohesiveness of these themes, commonly alluded to through consistent figures of speech and symbolism. The ocean, for example, appears on “Circles”: “I’m lost without your spark / now we’re swimming in circles with no place to go / always at the surface of the great unknown / I’m just trying not to drown” and reappears on “Saltwater,” a track that has varied sounds as it departs from a darker intro and breaks into a bright and bubbly chorus: “I measure every thought and feeling / It’s not the right one / and further from the shore I steer / Lost in the ocean.”
Corresponding with the record’s release, Coran released a documentary via World Cafe Live’s House Concerts series where she spoke about the record and performed several of its tracks live. She spoke about its themes and how they resonate with not only her but the potential to do so with her listeners as well:
“The album has themes of feeling really attached to somebody and them not reciprocating, and also feeling and being aware of the relationship that we have with ourselves and setting boundaries and coming into your own and I think that all of that is really universal, like finding your place in the world.”
These themes come to life around Coran’s self-described “Noir & B” style that blends sleek pop and jazz sounds. It flourishes on the production of S P A C E , creating a sparkly atmosphere. Every part of each track is taken full advantage of, being filled with entrancing instrumental arrangements of strings and keys, and with frequent lyrical reminiscing, Coran’s vocals uniquely transport listeners to the environment created by each track, like on “Duller Star:” “On the table by the bed lies a lonely cigarette / Breathing artificial air / Taste a memory that was there.” The balance of longing and self-worth that S P A C E often speaks to is illuminated by the soundscapes on the record, creating a simultaneous feeling of distance and seduction.
S P A C E ensures a unique escape to the smooth melodies of Coran’s songwriting, and every second of it is full. Whether the centerpiece of the track is Coran’s voice that blissfully floats over smooth keys, or an array of strings that mimic her vocals, natural human emotions of longing and the want to belong are conveyed through the sounds of S P A C E. Listen to the record below.