Always The Light
Saint Marie Music, 2012
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/24/2012
Indie music by its very definition is “outsider” music. However, even as the line between indie music and pop music gets more blurred, the quintessential indie singer is still eccentric and shy, with vocal characteristics to match the skittish personality. But the case with Elika’s Evagelia Maravelias is quite the opposite. Her sugary but vehement vocals gleam with the extrovertedness of a pop star and are a perfect fit for this Brooklyn NY duo’s modern-day dreampop music, adding the feeling of normalcy and comfort.
Always The Light is an electro-indie record that is eagerly sweet and melodiousness but never needy. The best cuts on the record – “Stay Beside Me” and “You And Me” – balance gentle guitars with keyboards, resulting in smooth and lush soundscapes. Meanwhile, “We Had It All” and “No One Gets Lost,” which are also on par with the album’s best, rely more on a less melodic purely electronic sound. The coyish indie side of the album, however, which consists of songs like “Count Your Steps” with its analog synthesizer sound and “Trials” with its unassumingly organic sound, is not worth mentioning.
Elika loves instrumentals and has scored advertisements (which can be viewed on YouTube through the band’s website) – and really cool ones at that, like the ad for LEGO. Although the scores might work well with an accompanying visual medium, the one to two minute music pieces on Always The Light put a complete damper on the album’s mood; worse still, there are four of them out of the album’s 10 songs.
This isn’t a bad album. But the music never quite seems to do justice to Maravelias’s vocals. The music doesn’t have the umph to match the vitality of Maravelias’s singing, which just wants to break out of the wall of modesty that the largely diffident music has built around it. Unlike a very similar act School Of Seven Bells, who has a similar vocalist in Alejandra Deheza, whose slick upbeat production compliments the gusty singing, Elika’s music doesn’t have the same sophistication to make Always The Light a standout pop record.