Graham Reid | | 2 min read
With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O.
She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up albums by New Zealand artists, and IN BRIEF does for international artists.
Shani.O's profile appears at the end of these brief but pointed reviews . . .
Bannerman: Here Comes The Day:
Here Comes The Day opens with the orchestral title track, reminiscent of prog-rock experimentation and an almost theatrical introduction to this trilogy. Alone, Not Alone enters as a much more conventionally formatted song, stripping back intricacies to let inventive lyrics take centre stage and breathe out in an expansive outro. Final track Walk with Me This Night is removed yet again in its light waltz feel with beautifully constructed interaction between melody and harmony. With each song set so distinctively against the next, one is inclined to take note of the one thread that runs throughout this EP; a bittersweet sense of loneliness both in lyric and instrumentation, enhanced carefully by the sonic separation of vocals from the rest of the mix. Poetic, experimental and beautifully lonely, NZ singer-songwriter Bannerman’s latest EP can be found here on Spotify and here on iTunes for your listening pleasure. For more on Bannerman's previous releases see here.
LP: Death Valley:
American LP’s latest EP is genre-bending experiment in Sixties/Seventies rock influence and pop sensibility, with undeniably strong songwriting capability and wide pool of inspiration lying at the heart. Opener Muddy Waters is an immediate stand-out, introducing a rhythm and blues style bed of haunting vocal harmonies from the outset -- a theme that crops up throughout the EP -- and what appears to be some hip-hop influence sprinkled within the arrangement. Surprisingly, the genre mishmash works, and not only that, puts this artist in a setting where the songs seem to transcend time. Grounded only to the 21st Century in the single Lost On You, the most commercial of the lot, LP -- aka Laura Pergolizzi -- embraces a hook-y chorus characterised by her effortlessly cool and raspy vocals. A quality EP with wide appeal and expertly blended influence, make sure to check it out here on Spotify and here on iTunes.
Marley Sola: Marley Sola:
With four acoustic guitar-driven pop/r’n’b tracks, Marley’s Sola’s debut self-titled EP is a cohesive unit that knows where it stands. Clearly a fan of understated, groove-driven choruses, Sola -- formerly in the boy band Moorhouse on X Factor -- has refreshingly shied away from the lure of the huge pop chorus, instead relying on the strength of his incredible vocal range and agility, as well as organic dynamic shifts to take the songs where they need to go. Latest single Fill Me Up exhibits the same laid-back vibe and lets the vocals do the talking, with Sola jumping up the octave on the second verse melody with impressive ease and musicality and staying in the upper register to smash out the infectious chorus. An exciting piece of work from a clearly talented and forward-thinking artist, Marley Sola’s EP is now available for streaming on Spotify, and preview/ purchase on iTunes.
Shani.O is a musician/songwriter/performer, currently completing a BMus in Popular Music at the University of Auckland and graduating at the end of the year.