With a perfect blend of folk, some soulful blues and soaring psychedelic grooves, Shanika Maria’s newest LP; Subtle Uncertainties explores themes of empowerment with some masterfully crafted lyrics. The full ten-song LP is a nice trip, bringing you to different places with each song. From Toronto, Shanika has many influences, yet each song has a lot of her own spirit in them. The lyrics are personal and will definitely give you a reason to pause and think.
Shanika Maria plays the guitar and sings, doing both extremely well. First on the LP, the track “Proud Woman” enchanted me with its mixture of southern music and soul. Her voice is haunting and her guitar echoes in the background, gently pushing her vocals forward. At the half point, a gentle drum beat kicks in, followed by harmonies. I was immediately hooked and hoped the rest of the LP would be as good. Some of her songs are simple acoustic tracks, with only chords and her voice. These songs, like “Lover Not a Fighter” are softer and bring things down, compared to more electric and active songs like “Anti-Adulthood” with its electric guitar rhythm setting a lively pace to her vocals.
Like I said earlier, a lot of these songs have heartfelt and personal lyrics. Although the use of instruments and effects are unique and different in each song, the focus is obviously on her voice. The recording and mixing were extremely well done in that case, as the music does not overpower her vocals and instead enhances the overall experience. Everything sounds professional and I never felt like I would have wanted something different. “Mouth Eaters,” was my favourite track, simply because of how different it was from the other tracks. It relied on beats and effects to create the instrumental, leaning more of a pop feel than folk. I respect and commend an artist who is able to have different types of songs and who is able to mix them up, all the while presenting them in a way which feels natural.
Subtle Uncertainties has a lot to offer and is a great introduction to her music. It’s the sort of album I’m often looking for. I spend much of my time listening to rock and blues, so when I come across a “softer” type of music which can grab my attention, all I want is to share it with everyone. I encourage everyone to head on over and listen to what Shanika Maria has to play; let yourself be enchanted by her voice.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
*edited by Mike Milito