Europe (and more specifically France) as seen by a young Japanese girl in the mid-Eighties... A study in inverted exoticism... Sonoko charmingly conjures up the spirit of Brigitte Bardot, Suicide, French cinema, Nino Rota, Robbe-Grillet, David Lynch, Catholic church music, Phil Spector, Shakespeare and more. Jean-Paul Gaultier has repeatedly been using songs from this cult album for his fashion shows. The album was produced by Colin Newman (Wire) and Aksak Maboul (Vincent Kenis & Marc Hollander).

Sonoko by Chris Roberts

La Débutante... in which the lines between hilarity and tears is shaken like a dusty rug ... She breathes rather than sighs, of the way she sees Europe, which is idealised, stylish and reviviscent.... She covers Suicide's Cheri Cheri and David Lynch's In Heaven from Eraserhead. She pays homage to Brigitte Bardot and Robbe-Grillet's Last Year In Marienbad. Ultimately the existential rendering of I Love How You Love Me would take the biscuit were it not topped by her annunciation of the balcony scene from Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet. To hear this combination of jingle bells backwards and her unwittingly slack-lipped recital - "A wose by any arthur name wet smell is sweet"- is to hear the future of my highly discerning musical taste. Her own lullabies are zonked-out nursery rhymes for the terminally abstract. Sonoko, if such an entity really exists, may disappear from the face of the earth next week, but she's gasped and dreamed one of the most implausible records of recent times. Highly recommended.

This piece appeared in the Melody Maker in 1988

Sonoko in the press

"Destined to become an underground classic from the late '80s... Her voice works like a charm. She uses lots of references (classical, Japanese, French, filmic, literary), but always consistently. 19 bewitching songs, impeccably enhanced by chief Wire man Colin Newman's delicate production work" (Libération, France, '89)

"Sonoko's musical postcards... She lovingly collects images from the Old Continent's culture and weaves them into a patchwork made of 19 miniatures. Disarmingly charming, with something of the candour of the Sixties" (Les Inrockuptibles, France, '89)

"Cet album est la meilleure surprise qu'on puisse faire ce mois-ci à un ami cher. Grâce à lui, il saura enfin l'effet que fait la France aux jeunes filles qui vivent à l'ombre des cerisiers en fleur" (Actuel, France, '89)

"A little girl's round and white face surrounded by paper angels, a dried flower in the hair, an old yellowed photograph, a fan and a cassette tape, that which she had one day sent from her Kyoto suburb to the Crammed label in Brussels. " (Max, France, '89)


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