Elika – Always the Light

Giving it a spin as part of a clearout revealed a surprisingly eloquent LP, often bathed in some wonderfully dark, Cold Wave synths and effects, some tough and intelligent lyrics and a brilliantly matriarchal delivery (not that far from Madonna at times) from Evagelia Maravelias.

 

http://www.konkurrent.nl http://www.saintmarierecords.com

 

Now normally I’m not one for fey covers. You pretty much know what you’re going to get, and the recent slew of acoustic guitar based acts seem to have a monopoly on artwork depicting flora, fauna, kids gambolling about upon the Greensward… usually delineated in a quivering, uncertain pen line. It’s enough to make you want to throw up. And the cover of this record - a tremulous outline of a little girl holding a balloon – would instantly make you think of a set of sensitive guitar songs about moods and feelings.

All of these prejudices meant we shoved it to the bottom of the review pile and left it for a while. Giving it a spin as part of a clearout revealed a surprisingly eloquent LP, often bathed in some wonderfully dark, Cold Wave synths and effects, some tough and intelligent lyrics and a brilliantly matriarchal delivery (not that far from Madonna at times) from Evagelia Maravelias. It’s a consistent listen, there’s hardly a bum note throughout the record, though at times the pace does seem a bit pedestrian and on the back foot. Sometimes you have tracks that are as dark and dusty as a cathedral - We Had It All and Waiting Room are incredibly powerful mixes of lament-laden vocals and some increasingly intrusive electronica. Sometimes things are much more tough and dramatic - like No One Gets Lost which seems to straddle a set of sonic conceits in a manner that is brilliant assured. It’s romantic and stately stuff all round; for my money it’s not unlike the Associates' Fourth Drawer Down or a straight, scrubbed –down and electronic take on some of the Cocteau Twins’ EPs. There’s something in the way the melodies are set up, something in the cavernous space the LP boasts. So there you have it, I can’t really waffle on anymore except to say that it’s a surprising and sometimes really good record.