Twenty-eight-year-old French chanteuse Soko returns with her second album: My Dreams Dictate My Reality. In contrast to her 2012 lo-fi, freak-folk debut I Thought I Was An Alien, her latest disc has a strong post-punk, early-’80s The Cure/Siouxsie and the Banshees vibe. But that’s not surprising, considering The Cure producer Ross Robinson produced this album. The reverb-heavy second track, “Ocean of Tears,” weeps nostalgically for “Just Like Heaven.” “My Precious” finds Soko yelping gleefully à la Annabella Lwin’s ecstatically jouissant singing for Bow Wow Wow. Along with the musical shift in direction, Soko has tossed away her dark flowing tresses for an Edie Sedgwick-inspired platinum-blonde dye job, looking like a hot mess it girl for her 15 minutes of fame.
As if to add to her cred, Soko duets with Ariel Pink on “Lovetrap” and “Monster Love.” Her fierce individualism only adds to her considerable appeal as she proclaims: “I refuse to grow / I refuse to get old / I refuse to conform / I refuse to transform / Oh, don’t take away my visions / Don’t take away my dreams” on “Peter Pan Syndrome.” Elsewhere, the lesbian-themed surf-rocker “Who Wears the Pants” totally kicks ass. In reality, this energetic record is a winning sophomore effort that bears repeated listening.