SOHN – “Hard Liquor” (Singles Going Steady)

"Hard Liquor" is a contrived and affected attempt to meld some idea of bluesiness into his brand of so-called "PBR&B".

Andrew Paschal: The opening track and fourth single from Rennen is also its worst offering. The song is a contrived and affected attempt to meld some idea of bluesiness into his brand of so-called “PBR&B”. Its melody is uncomfortably familiar, sounding not so much like one song in particular as a whole slew of songs, each similarly caricatured and unsubtle. “My baby don’t make a sound / As long as her hard liquor’s never watered down,” he drawls in an on-the-nose attempt to recreate the feel of a seedy tavern. In addition to going for a postindustrial bar song, “Hard Liquor” also has a curious “heave-ho” kind of vibe to it, like a co-opted imitation of the songs people associate with tough, physical labor. Perhaps this is what you would get if you crossed Blade Runner with Holes. [4/10]

Chris Ingalls: Taking a simple shuffle beat and plastering it with contemporary synths and beats is a nice touch — especially since the arrangement lets the song breathe. It never actually runs the risk of being too cluttered or busy. This is a great, if somewhat simple, single where nothing is wasted. Hard to categorize — dark synthpop, elegantly produced, with just a touch of modern R&B. [8/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: “Hard Liquor” has a good number of high moments, points where everything comes together — vocal echoes, pulsing rhythms — but at other times, it comes off as disingenuous, a flimsy attempt at a blues sound with no heart and no soul. These are vocals that would be better left to someone who knows how to truly belt it. All in all, it’s an inconsistent track, one that goes very quickly from being muddled to positively soaring, but then ends up right back at messy. As is often the case, SOHN errs on the side of too smooth, and it ultimately sounds pretentious. [3/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Don’t get it. Boring like a plane that keeps going down an endless runway but never takes off. A nice singing voice over a messy production. Turn this into a 12-bar blues, and he’d be onto something. [3/10]

SCORE: 4.50