A couple of years ago we attended the excellent celebration of new music that is Camden Rocks Festival. While waiting to see Press To Meco perform we spotted a couple of scantily clad young ladies who’d just finished up playing to a packed audience and it’s safe to say we were intrigued what the fuss was all about.
Now we’ve finally found out as we discovered the music of French-born sister duo The Soap Girls. The rock pairing have a straight-up ethos of, in their words: “We stand for freedom and give zero fucks when it comes to expressing ourselves.”
The sisters, Millie and Mie, write what they describe as outsider anthems that are “androgynous, audacious and straight from the heart.” And they’re all about music being for everyone and encouraging people to be themselves.
But The Soap Girls story goes back a long way, to its beginnings when the sisters were just 8 and 9 years old. They began selling soap and putting on various street performances on the streets of Cape Town every day for nine years – which led to their name being attributed to them by the locals. They began making music aged 12 and 13 and soon signed a deal with Universal Records to release their debut album back in 2011.
The album topped the South African charts and they set about conquering the rest of the world, taking on the US and Europe, then came to the UK for the first time in 2015. They’ve made waves with their energetic rock sound and their eye-catching live performances, which they describe to us as: “Pure energetic in your face rock, expect the unexpected at our shows but every show is a place of absolute freedom and no intolerance.”
Two more albums followed in 2016 and 2017, before the duo released Elephant In The Room back in July. It begins in fine fashion with the superb One Way Street, which perfectly sums up the duo’s raw, passionate and melodic sound.
It opens up with palm-muted guitars and a chugging little bassline that continue under engaging light vocals. Dual low and high-pitched vocals build up to a big catchy chorus of “I’ve been down a one-way street baby, Talking to the voice in my head lately, Say what you say, Say what you mean, Yeah you don’t say you say everything, Yeah I’ve been down a one-way street baby.”
The second verse sees slightly more intense vocals that builds up to another singalong chorus. That gives way to big powerful high-pitched vocals over guitar chords, then drops into big cymbals and a low riff that build up to a final blast of the chorus. It’s lively, super-catchy and a great opening to the album. Check it out in the video below – and, a little health and safety warning, don’t hook up your guitar and play it in the bath at home…
For more of the angsty The Soap Girls sound check out the excellent Chains, which opens up with light “oo-oo” vocals then jumps into a lively verse. It gradually intensifies into a big angsty chorus of “I’m the one nobody gonna take my place, Been through hell, I’m here, I’m here to stay, Don’t touch me I am a slave set free, I’m out my chains nobody gonna fuck with me, Watch your mouth or you know you’re gonna pay, been through hell and there is no escape, no no no.” Check it out in the video below:
And a personal favourite track is Girl Next Door, which opens up with palm-muted guitars and rolling drums that continue under an edgy opening verse: “The girl next door is there, Dancing for you in her underwear, Looks so sweet acts innocent, none of it’s true after the night she spends, Builds you up to tear you down, Grabs your heart and then spits it out.”
Drawn-out chords come in under the vocals: “The girl next door is something else, Something about her got you under her spell, The bitch next door is a filthy whore, But so are you for banging on her door.” A lively smash of heavier guitars and fast-paced vocals take over, then drop into more palm-muted guitars. It’s lively, feisty, and we love it. Check it out below:
The album ends with a French version of opening track One Way Street, if that floats your boat. Give it a listen below:
On the album, they tell us: ” We have been humbled by the immense response we have received regarding the album. And for the people that have yet to listen to our album expect a very diverse sound but the foundation is predominantly rock. It’s in your face and very melodic and original.”
The Soap Girls’ music is influenced by a love of bands like Alice in Chains, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, as well as Blondie, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Joy Division, Marilyn Manson and Korn.
And when it comes to inspires their music, they explain: “Life and our experiences and whatever’s happening around the world. Whether that’s the government and how they screw people over, injustice, animal rights and whatever we feel very strongly about at the time.”
The Soap Girls just finished up their busy touring schedule for the year and promise 2020 will be even bigger and better. They tell us: “Next year will be an even bigger tour with more countries, and definitely new songs and new crazy videos!
“We’re never gonna stop and we’ll never stop being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and or their freedom.”