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Lindsey Lomis meets Lizzy McAlpine: Sophia James and her Clockwork EP


Photo available via Flickr (Under License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))


I love discovering new artists, and from my recollection, it was Instagram reels that presented me with the punchy, synth heavy dance number that is ‘Circadian Rhythm’. This ridiculously catchy single instantly grabbed my attention, and I started down a rabbit hole of artist exploration. 


Now on her 3rd studio EP, Sophia James’ Clockwork EP is a reflection on time, and the way it is “linear, circular, orderly, chaotic, real, fake, overflowing, running out, everything, and nothing at all”. Sophia’s instagram post to celebrate her album release explains her artistic process, and all the people she worked with in order to bring her EP to fruition. This small collection of songs is electrifying, where quality truly does trump quantity. 


The clockwork theme is present throughout, opening with ‘Intro (Daylight Savings)’. A jazz inspired, silky smooth piano line is joined by the warmth of Sophia’s voice, switching between breathy and powerful vocals. An antique ticking clock sound closes the song, and sets the scene for the ensuing album.


‘First Time Around’ is a driving, harmonically adventurous tune. Feature lyrics include: “Thomas was famous for failing at making the lightbulb”, referencing Thomas Edison and his famous electricity experiments. This song is a reflection on feeling stuck, and not being able to crack the repetitive nature of failing, all linking to the cyclical nature of time. There are some funky, jazz-inspired chord progressions, and this track particularly showcases the versatility of Sophia’s voice.


This next song is very reminiscent of Lizzy McAlpine’s artistic style in her most recent album Older. ‘Clockwork’ starts with acoustic guitar and breathier, whimsical vocal harmonies, while the rhythm drives the song in a lilting 5/4 fashion. Sophia is blessed with the same astounding vocal flexibility as Lindsey Lomis, making very challenging riffs sound ridiculously easy. This song has a very peaceful quality, with a hint of modality at the end similar to Jacob Collier’s guitar riffs in ‘The Sun Is In Your Eyes’. A song with many influences I’m sure.


The first hints of a funky ‘wah wah’ guitar sound creep into ‘Heat Death (The End of Everything)’. A more stripped back track production wise, featuring some smooth electric piano, but with the same drum kick as heard in the rest of the EP. It adds a refreshing balance with a semi-psychedelic feel, reminiscent of the 1975, but more of a lofi vibe.


The most reflective and nostalgic song; ‘Vega’ opens with a beautiful piano introduction, being joined by acoustic guitar faintly outlining the chord movement. The voice is the focus, with its lush harmonies and the lyrics painting the story narrative. We’re slowly led along by a creatively chromatic piano line, providing a calm sonic closure to this album. 


The final track is a fun rendition of ‘Valerie’, as performed Live by Sophia. A classic cover, full of life, and showcasing huge vocal agility, range, and character. Overall, a very impressive offering, and an EP I jumped to listen to after my initial impression. It did not disappoint.



Follow Sophia James on Instagram and listen to the Clockwork EP on Spotify.


Edited by Julia Curry, Music Editor

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