Sophie Koh
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Sophie Koh

Sunbury, Victoria, Australia | INDIE

Sunbury, Victoria, Australia | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter




"Sophie Koh Album Review - Top Pick"


Oh My Garden \ Sophie Koh

On her third album, Melbourne-based performer Sophie Koh abandons acoustic pop in favour of a more eclectic, electronic sound. Opener On and On buzzes with an urgent electricity that gives Koh’s pristine vocals a new, nervy edge. It isn’t hard to spot the fingerprints of Ben Lee and Machine Translation’s J Walker, both of whom helped out on the production side.

None of this is to suggest Koh’s gone and made an experimental album. Lip Syncing is pure, radio-friendly pop but takes an idiosyncratic approach to its hooks and choruses. Single I Understand evokes a chart-troubling ’80s tear-jerker, but its simmering backdrop gives the track a genuine sense of hurt and danger.

Fans might miss the raw simplicity of Koh’s earlier releases, but this more polished LP feels like the work of a vibrant and interesting artist. Of course, what matters most is that Koh’s grasp on melody remains strong. Here, we see her mature as a performer, putting across sharp-edged tunes with a new confidence. - Myke Bartlett - - July 2012

"Sophie Koh Oh My Garden (album review) - 4 stars"

Oh My Garden: 4 stars

Ramsay street has given the world a lot of music, not all of it great. A chance meeting on the Neighbours set lit the spark that ignited Sophie Koh's third album. She met Ben Lee when they were both singing at the Neighbour's bar (Charlie's) and he invited her to LA to write some songs with producer Brad Wood. The result is four songs that anchor Oh My Garden: the hypnotic opener On and On (which has Koh singing, 'I Love that you are still a mystery"), the finger-clicking first single Lo-Fi, the biting break-p ballad I Understand, and the album's sweetest pop moment, Top to Bottom. Lee and Wood have brough out a sense of fun in Koh, who can occasionally veer into serious territory. The two sides of Sophie KOh are beautifully described in Top to Bottom: " I serve you biscuits and tea, I'm kinda old-fashioned," she admits, "until i start pashing". Koh's Garden is a grower, one of 2012's most captivating pop records. As Koh instructs, "Put those headphones on". The album reveals its secrets with repeated play.
Crying Ninja Records/ MGM
(review by Jeff Jenkins) - STACK magazine JB mag (Jeff Jenkins) July 2012

"Oh My Garden - album review"

Sophie Koh is one of those artists who seem to pop up all over the place, and now she’s back with her third studio album, Oh My Garden. The alternative pop collection has been produced with Brad Wood (Liz Phair/The Smashing Pumpkins) over 18 months and four successive trips to Los Angeles, which led Koh to explore new musical terrain. The addition of synths has added a more electronic sound to the album and is a distinct move away from her traditional acoustic guitar-driven sound.

The album could easily be classed as easy listening, combining typically sweet pop tracks like title song Oh My Garden with some more synth-infused, upbeat numbers like You Are and Winter Sunglasses, which take a lead from Ladyhawke’s early style.

First single off the album, Lo-Fi, is definitely one of the winners here, combining a fat bass with a catchy, summery melody, clapping hands and fun lyrics. Lip Syncing is another singalong triumph. Emotive love song I Understand gives Koh’s lower vocal range a good workout and is, by the artist’s own admission, her most personal song to date – her raspy voice sings: “I would love to love you harder/But listen baby, I don’t think I can.”

A few tracks are a bit too sickly sweet with lyrics that don’t really cut through, like Top To Bottom, and there’s a noticeable lack of build on numbers like On And On, which have the potential to be great tacks but just don’t go anywhere. But overall Oh My Garden a good, all-round pop piece. - Helen Lear - July 2012

""Album of the Week" Oh My Garden"

Incorporating electronic styles reminiscent of the dazzling 80s, the album stays true to the quirky and whimsical musical style that’s featured on her previous recordings, her 2005 debut, ‘All the Pretty Boys’ and ‘All Shook Up’ in 2008.

2012 sees a more mature Sophie Koh, one who’s not only grown as a singer/songwriter, but as a live performer as well, having learned to own the stage, and to enjoy it in the process.

‘Oh My Garden’, is our album of the week this week on Radio Australia. - ABC Radio Australia - June 2012

"Sophie Koh Releases Stunning New Single"

May 6th 2012

Sophie Koh has captivated me with “I Understand,” the second single lifted from her forthcoming album Oh My Garden.

So many songs have been written about break-ups, but few are quite as searing as this one. There are no hysterics or desperate pleas, simply a resignation and sadness for love lost. Ben Lee and Brad Wood helped Sophie pen the track that she calls “one of the most personal songs” she’s ever written.

I remember catching Sophie Koh supporting Howie Day a few years ago. Her name stuck with me, and I’m thrilled to see the way she’s maturing as an artist. This song is stellar. She’ll launch it for her hometown fans in Melbourne at The Toff in Town on May 31.

- Sounds of Oz - May 2012


PREMIERE: Sophie Koh “I Understand”
By Jenna Hawkins / May 25th, 2012 in Music / Melbourne

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Sophie Koh went to extremes for her latest video, “I Understand” from her forthcoming third studio album, Oh My Garden set for release later this year. Teaming up with directorial duo The Apiary (Lily Coates and Gavin Youngs), Koh was literally put through the ringer physically, strapped to a purpose built gimbal (rotating machine) for the highly stylised video.

Youngs described the process of the “I Understand” video and why simplicity and focusing on the artist was the underlying purpose, resulting in a beautiful an unique creative exploration of the fusion between music and film;

“The idea was to do away with the various veils of costume, location and action to concentrate all the attention on Sophie and her song, using the gravity to evoke the emotional journey. Rather than having Sophie act it out, we subjected her to the effects of gravity, strapping her to the gimbal together with a camera, and letting the blood rush to her face as she turned upside-down. It was pretty torturous, but she was super brave and trusting.”

Coates explained further this intricate vision to Portable which was inspired by ‘the sense of vulnerability hidden by stoicism in the lyrics and vocals of the song’;

“Years back, a performance artist I admire made a silent video showing her face going through increasing stages of intense stress. The sudden intimacy was very powerful, like locking eyes with someone you don’t know who’s crying in the street. Looking closer at the video, you could see that she had used the effects of gravity to produce this false appearance of trauma. It was a trick! The almost scientific approach was more confronting than the original emotions I’d taken as genuine. It was more interesting than performance or documentary.”

Koh herself described the physical motions she went through to create the demanding and visually confusing and intricate video;

“For a lot of that time, I was strapped to the gimble, with most of my body weight on my pelvis and my feet dangling in mid-air. We couldn’t give it away that I was rotating horizontally and subsequently upside down throughout the continuous takes so I had to wear a harness and numerous tight belts to strap me down, particularly on my shoulders. It was all a bit sadistic actually! Entering the water tank whilst all tied-up and completely upside-down was rather scary. I also had to hold myself up via the arm-holds whilst rotating. There were a lot of minute details we had to get 100 per cent right. What I’ve learnt from making this video is that the simpler the end result, the more detail you would have to put in to make it look simple.”

The heartfelt song is clearly complimented by the minimal elements of the video which Koh described to Portable as ‘one of the most personal things I have ever written.’

“It’s a break-up song without theatre or angst. Just resignation and sadness in the act of letting go. It’s about that moment or week, or months where your head says you’re happy, you’re over it, you even say it all out loud to yourself, to other people,
but something in your voice, your tone gives it away that you’re not. The acknowledgement that you’re okay, that you’re moving on, is sometimes even more heartbreaking.”

If the music of “I Understand” is anything to go by, we’re extremely excited for Koh’s third release, Oh My Garden which she gave Portable a sneak peek of what to expect;

“This new album is full of pop songs coloured with kooky synthesizer and electronic hooks, whilst keeping the guitar and piano undertones which people might already be familiar with from my previous work. There are quite a few personal ballads as well. It’s really a variety of moods and colour, hence the title.”

Oh My Garden was recorded in Los Angeles with the help of 90's indie rocker Ben Lee, who Koh first met on the set of Aussie so - Portable TV - interview

"Sophie Koh - All Shook Up Album review"

by Aidan Roberts (2008)

Sophie Koh. She’s a bit of an elusive figure in the current indie singer-songwriter arena, quietly plugging away making her records with a soft-touched confidence. Her second full-length record is a concept album of sorts; chronicling her descent into discomfort and back out again, Sophie sings of her trials and tribulations in recent years through family, personal relationships and an apparently quite nasty tennis accident. “I’m better now, I can be so careless,” she sings on the title track, with open-palmed frankness, an approach which makes the songs on this album refreshing and likable in their non-pretentious conversational manner. Sophie’s songs also traverse an unexpectedly adventurous melodic curve – see Objects In The Mirror and the interesting Chinese tone poem Gan Lan Shu (Olive Tree) – which blends very well with producer J. Walker’s skewy corner-store sounds and genius arrangements, very recognisably from the Machine Translations camp. Sophie’s musical world is one of subtlety not showiness, and with this album she’s definitely taken a step closer to greatness. - Alternative Media Group

"I Understand - Single Review"

Lingering, forlorn bass-piano chords and an unpredictable backbeat are striking components of this unconventional break-up song. Written in collaboration with Ben Lee and Brad Wood, I UNDERSTAND exposes Sophie Koh's vulnerable side and this style suits her well. Something about Koh's vocal performance here makes me want to hear her cover ' Say What You Want' by Texas. - InPress (Melbourne Street Mag) 23 May 2012 - Issue 1225

"Toff in Town - live gig review"

Sophie Koh is another artist whose name should be familiar; she has been carving away a spot for herself in the Melbourne musical community over the past five years, and judging by tonight’s performance she has really found her feet. Walking on to polite applause shortly after the band hit their first notes, Koh stood at the microphone, hips shaking in a black sequined dress looking every bit the diminutive popstar. Then she started singing, and what a great voice she has, sitting perfectly on top of the glitchy synth pop that her band, including longtime collaborator Tim Reid on guitar and singer-songwriter-in-his-right D. Rogers on synthesizer provided.

Anyone who has seen Koh perform in the past would not be able to help but draw the conclusion that she has come into her own, moving away from guitar based folk/pop, which at times veered a little too close to territory being covered by numerous other female singer/songwriters, to the straight out indie pop that was delivered tonight with no small amount of abandon. This became most obvious when she played older material, which sat oddly next to the newer tunes, and although they were charming in their own way they didn’t have the same degree of catchy fun, almost like she was stuck between two different guises, and it was the sexy popstar that suited her better than the sweet indie folk singer. Koh has been holed away in Los Angeles writing many of these tunes with a certain Ben Lee for an upcoming album and if the music gods have justice she should reap some rewards with this new direction. -

"Sophie Koh : Lo-Fi and loving it"

Read entire interview at: -

"Sophie Koh - All Shook Up REVIEW"

Sophie Koh has broken the cutie-pie mould with her new album.

The dreamy ditties that graced her last album have been left for dust.

Koh has returned with a mixture of carefully crafted songs that offer just as much bitter as they do sweet.

The fresh and deliberate strength of Koh’s vocals make you immediately take notice.

All Shook Up is intensely mesmerising.

Four and a half stars - Eleven Magazine

"Sophie Koh - Groupie feature article" - Groupie Magazine



* All The Pretty Boys (2005)

* All Shook Up (2008)

* Oh My Garden (July 2012)

EPs and singles

* Anywhere (2005) #3 Triple J Net 50
* Silly Thing (2006) EP
* Objects In This Mirror, single (2008)
* Lo-Fi single (released October 2011)
* I Understand - single (released May 2012)


* She Will Have Her Way - Tim Finn's "Charlie" (2005)
* JJJ Like A Version 2 - "Creep"(Radiohead) (2006)
* Lazy Sunday - "Silly Thing" (2006)
* Acoustic 2 - "All The Pretty Boys" (2006)
* Rockwiz - Two For The Show with Jimmy Little- "Happy Together" (2006) and " Streets of Your Town" with The Church's Steve Kilbey - DVD



Sophie Koh is a critically-acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter (pop/folk), born in New Zealand of Chinese Malaysian parents. She spent her formative years in Melbourne, Darwin and Singapore.

Sophie will be embarking on a USA, Canada and China tour in June - August 2013.

- “ One of the most captivating pop records of 2012 “
Jeff Jenkins, Stack Magazine

- ABC Radio Australia ‘Album of the Week’ 2012

- “The album is self assured, beautifully produced, wonderfully presented and deserving of plaudits “
Australian Independent Records

Whilst Sophie Koh’s one-time wish to be a Playschool presenter never actually eventuated, she did manage to land herself on the set of the famous Australian TV soap, Neighbours in 2010 for a musical cameo role. This opportunity led to a chance meeting with Australia’s indie-pop king, Ben Lee. A mutual desire to collaborate resulted in Sophie working with producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair/Pete Yorn/Smashing Pumpkins) at his leafy Seagrass studios in Los Angeles.

Over eighteen months and four successive trips to LA, Sophie’s 2012 album, ‘Oh My Garden’ was born. This third album represents a natural progression from Sophie’s 2005 debut, ‘All the Pretty Boys’ through to 2008’s ‘All Shook up’. It includes collaborations with Ben Lee, Robin Waters (Boat People) and J Walker (Machine Translations). In keeping with Sophie’s inherent whimsical reflections on love and life in this eclectic array of songs, an irrepressible undercurrent of colour and groove is achieved through bold pop production of electronics and synthesizers.

'Oh My Garden' features two stunning radio singles, the heartbreaking ballad ' I Understand' and the supermarket hopping 'Lo-Fi'.

Sophie first came to prominence after being “Unearthed” by Triple J in Australia in 2003 and has since toured around Australia, and supported acts such as The Go-Betweens, The EELS, Paul Kelly, Pete Murray and Howie Day to name a few. She was awarded the ‘Best Female Artist’ in The AGE Music awards in 2008.

Sophie is also known to Australian audiences through Spicks and Specks (co-hosting with Adam Hills on one occasion!), and RockWiz (singing duets with legends Jimmy Little and The Church’s Steve Kilbey). Additionally, her punchy cover version of Split Enz’s, “Charlie” is the closing track of the double-platinum selling album, ‘She will Have Her Way- Songs of Neil and Tim Finn’.

Sophie has created her finest work yet, drawing on personal experiences and surprising new directions, in her new album, ‘Oh My Garden’ (released 2012)

Sophie plays live regularly as solo/duo OR with her full 5-piece band. She just finished her 2012 Australian Tour.

Band Members