I wasn’t sure what to expect with this EP, simply titled BLUE, because I can get weary with the pop and electronica genre which is very hit or miss with me. While this EP wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I’d be a fool to not acknowledge the unique sound it merits.
Valere (a.k.a Shana Llorando), the artist behind Blue, hails from Auckland, New Zealand. I hazard a guess that the beauty of this part of the world may explain some of the influence behind her calm and serene vocals, and I couldn’t help but feel lost in an ocean of her emotions. In the short opening track “Wayside” that serenity can be heard immediately. We are greeted by a quiet, atmospheric sound, yet met with lyrics like, “I’m sunk in deep/Tide’s turning/It’s hard to breathe/But my clumsy feet are learning,” which makes for an interesting middle ground between calm sound and chaotic thoughts. The lyrics are quite relatable to me, and I’m sure they would be to many others who have ever had a struggle. (And hey, I almost drowned as a kid, so I can take them literally too, ha!)
With “Skin & Bone” I had to get past what I dub “fairy tinkle sounds” added into the song – as in, what I’d guess to be the sound a fairy makes whilst taking a tinkle. I just never got into fluffy fairytale stuff as a kid; I was more of a Grimms fairytale girl (they’re pretty brutal, if you’ve never read them), and something about sparkly sounds in music hits a nerve with me. However, this song is undeniably chill, and has a dark side within the lyrics. I found words like, “You hold my hand/I hold back/You tear the pages of my past” very relatable again, and I’ll be damned but I got fooled by those fairy tinkles in the end. To boot, I really dug the video for this song, and it adds a surreal vibe to it all. Namely, I like how she didn’t sing and just let her eyes do the talking…something about it simply chilled me.
The album has this kind of overall vibe, but “Much (F For Friendship)” offers a more up-beat sound and changes it up a bit. Going back to the chill vibe, the song “Know Me” has a lost-in-space vibe, though something about it made me feel like I was in church (probably the organ-like sounds), but that gets squashed when a light, pulsing beat comes in about halfway through. Though I dug this track, I found the end a little tiring hearing the words, “I’m alright/I’m ok/You know me” over and over. But maybe that was the point; as someone who has dealt with my fair share of anxiety, I’ve repeated the words “I’m ok” over and over, tiring myself out. So in the end that’s a minor critique.
I’ll leave you with this video of her cover and remake of Selena’s “Dreaming of You;” I found it very endearing seeing her do her thing, and as a fan of the original song, it’s just sweet. (If you like what you see and hear, you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter).
Written by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Kate Erickson