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Sophia - There Are No Goodbyes

  by Jon Rogers

published: 26 / 5 / 2009

Sophia - There Are No Goodbyes
Label: Flowershop Recordings
Format: CD


Understated and slow-growing, but ultimately rewarding fifth album from Sophia, which depicts in powerful detail the agony of a relationship having gone sour

Pop music is littered with divorce laments. In fact, not just pop music but music in general. Heartache, in all is manifestations, has been a common theme right from the start. Pop music though has expressed the myriad emotions breaking up has induced. There’s the loneliness of Billie Holiday’s 'Good Morning Heartache', the bleakness of the Cure’s 'Disintegration' and of course Leonard Cohen’s 'Famous Blue Raincoat' as well as Joy Division’s 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. Few though can come close to the intensity of Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks”, virtually a whole album detailing his split with his then wife Sara Lowndes. Sophia’s fifth studio album 'There Are No Goodbyes' joins these exalted examples of a relationship gone sour. Robin Proper-Sheppard pours it all out: the sorrow, self-blame, anger, regret, guilt, the emptiness. It’s all here in 10 songs. Even Proper-Sheppard thinks “it’s a sad record. Quite possibly the darkest record I’ve ever made.” He’s not wrong. And seeing as he’s hardly a happy soul at the best of times that might give you an indication of just how dark it is. Admittedly, when this record first arrived for several weeks Pennyblackmusic was largely undecided about its merits. Once again Sophia had made a record of understated beauty. Great pop dynamics underlined a great song-writing talent but as with recent albums it was underwhelming. Sophia had missed yet another opportunity to make a great record and merely settled for making a good record. But Pennyblackmusic was looking too closely, too intently and couldn’t see the wider panoramic view. Left gathering dust for a while it then got another play and it was certainly worth it. Mentioning individual songs might be fruitless as 'There Are No Goodbyes' works best in its entirety, best listened to in one go and Proper-Sheppard details it all. While 'There Are No Goodbyes' is very likely to be the band’s best yet it’s not quite up there with the very best of desolation and heartache. There’s nothing quite there to match the bitterness of Dylan’s 'If You See Her, Say Hello' or 'Boots of Spanish Leather'. Still, few records are. 'There Are No Goodbyes' is still a powerful record and well worth investigating.

Track Listing:-
1 There are no goodbyes
2 A last dance(To Sad Eyes)
3 Storm clouds
4 Dreaming
5 Obvious
6 Something
7 Signs
8 Heartache
9 Leaving
10 Portugal
11 Oh my love(Live from The Valentine's Day Session)

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Interview (2009)
Sophia - Interview
Sarah Maybank finds Jon Spencer to be in aggressive mood when she speaks to him about Heavy Trash's new album, 'Midnight Soul Mood', and how he divides his time between it and his other band, the Blues Explosion
Interview with Robin Proper-Sheppard (2004)

live reviews

Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003
Sophia - Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003
As a prelude to a European tour and their new album 'People are Like Seasons', both of which are due early next year, Sophia recently played a low-key gig at the London Bush Hall. From uncertain beginnings Jon Rogers finds them on fine form

digital downloads


People Are Like Seasons (2003)
Finely-conceived third studio album from Sophia which finds frontman Robin Proper-Sheppard mining the same areas of regret and loss as he has done on the band's previous albums, but also looking back to his days with the ferecious God Machine
Seduction Of Madness (2002)
De Nachten (2001)

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