Montreal-based pop savant Soran understands how to dismantle sorrow. When you find yourself alone, life chewing you to pieces, the walls of the world enveloping around you -- making art can feel like an explosive way through the dark. “Every song should be made with that excitement, that playfulness, or else just don’t do it,” he says with a coy smile. Soran’s new LP, Loneliness Confetti (due March 15th 2024), more than lives up to that promise. Dripping with ‘80s-vintage synthpop bliss, Prince swagger, and maximalist modern pop wonder alike, the eight-track set is the latest statement from a rapidly ascending multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and lyricist stepping further into the spotlight.
“Loneliness Confetti celebrates being alone and living with the beauty that we’re choosing not to see every day,” Soran explains. “It’s surrendering to what some call boredom and finding the playfulness and euphoria of every moment.” The record opens with a glittering testament to that worldview in the form of “Diamond”. Riding a quick-shuffling breakbeat and immaculately layered synths and strings, the indie pop gem finds Soran exalting a loved one in a honeyed falsetto. “I can finally see it/ The light is kissing your cheeks/ I can feel it/ Reflecting all over the place,” he sings, like a warm beam of psychedelic sunlight.
It’s a marvel that Soran was able to produce an album over the past year, let alone a record this ecstatically hopeful. After the isolation and frustration of COVID lockdowns, Soran’s long-term relationship ended. Not long later, his mother tragically passed away. The two had been particularly close, and after her passing, he found himself living in her home and converting it into a studio space where he could host other artists. “Ultimately, that experience pushed me to make music I knew my mom would like, which is good because she liked really good music,” Soran laughs. “My mom was a music journalist in Japan who loved listening to Prince and David Bowie, and her energy is there in the house—and she’ll always be a percentage of me.”
Around the same time, Soran also left behind a deal with a major label that wasn’t working out—a decision which allowed him more creative control and freedom. Third single “Magic” shows that Soran is capable of radio-ready hooks all on his own, though always with unexpected twists and turns in the composition. “Hands all over my chest, face/ Get your lips all over my neck/ I call it magic,” he soars on the song’s chorus, followed by a cloud of backing vocals and pitch-shifted harmonies like a gleaming show of the Northern Lights. Soran’s come a long way from busking in the Montreal Metro with an acoustic guitar, but the beating heart in the midst of these deeply layered productions is still composed of unimpeachable choruses and deeply emotive lyrics.
Throughout the record, Soran picks out touchstones of pop’s finest moments of the last fifty years and pushes them through his own patented kaleidoscopic view. “Trophy Boy” bolsters its lyrics on a marshmallow-soft production bed, a track that fuses a ‘70s teenage love anthem into a Beach House dream pop wonderland. The title track, meanwhile, taps into some ‘80s Eurythmics synth tones to bolster its postmodern open-hearted anxiety. “What a cold world, get me out of here/ In a jumbo jet out the atmosphere/ Somewhere far, far, far away,” he sighs, dizzyingly interacting with the giddy rhythm. Elsewhere, the sweetly swaying “Anna” digs into a Beatles or Kinks groove, but with a Tatsuro Yamashita-esque romantic falsetto at the lead.
“It feels like years since I’ve expressed myself the way I want to, and this record is unapologetically showing a deep love of pop I hadn’t been able to explore,” Soran explains. The majority of the record comes from Soran’s own hands—from keyboards to bass to drums. But as Soran also writes and produces tracks for others (ranging from electro-R&B wizard Zach Zoya to pop artist Audrey Mika), he has understood the importance of close collaborators and has built a tight-knit community of like-minded artists. Co-producer Samant helped guide the creation of “Diamond” and album highlight “Mango”—the multi-instrumentalist acting like a “super-talented clone” Soran laughs. Soran also credits Montreal pop experimentalist Miko with helping shape the record’s musical journey.
“These songs are just like time capsules, a place to contain so many ideas at once,” Soran says. The joy of having someone as multifaceted, as talented, and as bright-eyed as Soran encapsulating that time means that even the most weighted moments can be infused with pure life and love. Never content with an unforgettable hook or dense production wonderland, Loneliness Confetti continues to unfold and expand, each listen uncovering some new joy while ingraining its earnest lyrics deep in the heart.