8th December 2013

Album: Eska – Gatekeeper EP

A fantastic listen for those who wish for a return to lost musical sincerity.

It’s rare nowadays to hear a voice that strikes you immediately as something special.

Considering myself largely a disliker of modern-day folk, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Eska’s EP and discovered that the essence of folk is still alive and well. Having collaborated alongside such household names as Grace Jones and Cinematic Orchestra in the past, it is hard to understand how Eska has avoided individual recognition for so long. However, bursting onto the scene with her first collection of own material, five tracks are all that is needed to showcase her talent for songwriting.

The first track on the album, the EP’s titled ‘Gatekeeper’, does just this through Eska’s use of vocal inflections and heartfelt melodies that embody her wide variety of influences from Psychedelic Rock to Soul and Electronica. Track ‘Red’ takes on a different direction. Incorporating experimental sounds and dissonant undertones, Eska adopts an effortless improvisatory style that showcases the sheer depth of her vocal range.

Stripping back the production, Arrogant Heart Part 1 and 2 consist only of Eska’s voice, a few backing vocals and guitar arpeggios. This sparsity elevates her lyrical writing above all else and most shows her ability to stand independent of instrumental backing.

Similarly, ‘She’s In The Flowers’ resembles ‘Gatekeeper’ in its use of intricate percussion rhythms to a climax and musical epiphany that returns to the spirit of such folk greats as Joni Mitchell. Moreover, it’s insertion between Arrogant Heart Part 1 and 2 on the EP reflects Eska’s ability to soar both on sparse arrangements and heavier production.

Eska has undoubtably a unique vocal style, but what truly distinguishes her as one to watch in 2014 is her approach to lyrical writing that is a breath of fresh sincerity in the Industry today.

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