Single Reviews: 5 May 2023: Eydís Evensen, Tara Jam, Hudba Lyrika, Bad Flamingo, Neighborhood Libraries

Photo by Inga Seliverstova

Eydís Evensen - Tranquillant


Icelandic pianist and composer Eydís Evensen expertly balances the moody and tense atmosphere of her recent single, "Tranquillant", with cinematic strings, neoclassical piano ponderances, and jazzy wind instrumentation. The track is taken from Evensen's second album, The Light, which was inspired by the dramatic landscape and weather of her habitual Atlantic isle. Despite the irony of titling music that could soundtrack a melodrama The Light, Evensen's writing builds emotive tension to a geyser-like release. Though it may be a platitude, the adage "it's always darkest before the dawn" comes to mind. Here, the pianist stares directly into the darkness, willing streaks of invigorating light to break through grey clouds of pensiveness as if by observation alone.

Tara Jam - DRTY

alternative pop

Torontonian dark pop wizard Tara Jam's recent single "DRTY" showcases a powerful surge of bass tones and crystalline vocals that merge ultrapop ambitions with sinister and complicated deliveries. The track has a dark and sexual kinetic energy that packs a memorable punch. Jam's Zoroastrian-Persian heritage, which emphasizes the importance of spiritual equality between men and women, is brought out in a smooth-as-butter performance that reveals an artist whose message is one of female empowerment. Context aside, this track is full of powerful emotion and stellar production that pack a memorable punch. 

Hudba Lyrika - Kobalt


Czech duo Hudba Lyrika weaves curious threads of frosty synths and meditative piano into an alluring veil of sound on their recent single "Kobalt". Although little information is available on the group, it's not surprising given that they only came into existence earlier this year with the equally pretty single "Prolog". They make the kind of elusive music that shifts between coherency and mystery, landing on passages of surprising harshness among the subtlety with perception-shattering profundity.

Bad Flamingo - Mountain Road


Masked bandits Bad Flamingo may have a gimmick to their stage persona and a sound cleaner than a freshly-washed sheet, but there's candid expression and friendly frequencies to be found on their recent single "Mountain Road". The group has adopted an Oscar Wilde quote as a tagline for their Americana-tinged county pop rock: "Give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth." The two artists have taken this maxim and run with it, shielding not only their eyes with Zorro-esque dominoes but also omitting their names, and they are known simply as "The one on the left", who plays guitar, bass, and banjo, and "The one on the right", who plays banjo, autoharp, and tambourine. Both of these enigmatic minstrels sing rather wonderfully together. Perhaps what's nicest about "Mountain Road" is its use of silence, delivering impactful rests between focused acoustic hi-fi Americana charm.

Neighborhood Libraries - Sunset at New Brighton


Oceanic epicness contrasted with serene softness is the name of the game on "Sunset at New Brighton", the new single from Vancouver-based Neighborhood Libraries. A solo project of ambient artist Taylor Swindells, Neighborhood Libraries purveys surreal and quite transportive music while practicing the utmost restraint, simmering his stereo-filling spacecapes down to touchingly sentimental minimal piano, treated feedback, and birdsong for a compelling and repeatable registering of an important experience in the artist's life. "This song is inspired by one particular evening walk to the beach in our neighborhood," Swindells writes. "The colors over the water combined with the chaos of the kids playing created a moment I didn’t want to forget." "Sunset at New Brighton" is unforgettable, even for those of us who weren't there to see the crows or the kids playing or the colors of the water. Those elements are all here in literal audio representation, but also in reflective music that stops to realize itself, as if taking everything in.