Empress Of – Systems EP (Double Denim Records)
Singer / Songwriter Lorely Rodriguez releases her debut EP of half English, half Spanish songs. Paul Scott-Bates gives us his thoughts.
Hot on the heels of reviewing the new album by Wizard Of, I now find myself reviewing Empress Of. I know not of where they claim to reign, but I do know that the Wiz, Bob McCully, was less than complimentary of the Systems EP – a shame, as although poles apart, they both do strive to offer something in the growing field or alternative pop.
Lorely created a mini storm on YouTube last October by uploading loads (around fifty) one minute-long musical pieces and associating each one to a simple colour swatch. ‘Colorminutes’ is an intriguing series and one which displays both originality and creativity alike.
‘Systems EP’ is no exception and opens with the sparkling ‘Hat Trick’. Blending part Alison Goldfrapp with part Scarlet (see Independent Love Song’ from 1994) and a hint of Grimes, it’s both commercial and catchy in a slightly offbeat sort of way. There are even hints of Elizabeth Fraser tucked away in her vocal style which winds its way up and down the scales right into ‘No Means No’ complete with the very occasional elongated 70s disco ‘pooom’. It’s all very pleasant listening and will see her gain some attention.
Side two of the EP sees two tracks in her first language, Spanish. ‘Tristeza’ is sumptuous. Completely percussion free with multiple voices and trickling electronic effects. There’s a strange panting noise which is quite simply enchanting and mesmerising. The instrumentation rises and floats and the slightly strange arrangement makes for something very special with finger clicks and tambourine sound. Final track, ‘Camisa Favorita’, is again unique and sparse in its style. The stripped down background making you listen rather than just accept it.
It’s a lovely little thing and it’s nice to see someone trying to blend both pop and alternative in a very accessible way.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.