Sacrifice – Elea Calvet (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I first experienced Elea Calvet’s mercurial music in a small and intimate coffee shop setting more than a few years ago now. Since then I have caught full on, full band, musically sky scraping shows, similarly striped back affairs and everything in between. She has released music which has taken standard musical forms, rock, blues, alt-country but which is bent to her more experimental, more genre-hopping will. That’s the real charm of her music, you never quite know what you are going to get. But whatever physical form it takes, whatever generic references she works with it is always uniquely…. Calvet-esque and not many people get their own bolt on suffix so early on in their career.

Sacrifice plays with the usual ethereality and otherworldliness that has come to be part of her sonic thumbprint but this time out there is something of the jazz diva at work. The world-weariness, the inherent passion that beats at the heart of the song, the slow-burning journey from uptown, cocktail club sophistication to alt-rock maelstrom, the vocal dexterity, the brilliant imperfection and natural growl in her voice…it all marks out a young artist who already is thinking outside the box, is pursuing her own very unique sound away from the fad and fashion of mainstream expectation.

It is worth noting that the people with their fingers on the studio buttons here, Stef Hambrook and Hugo Nicolson, have CV’s who include PJ Harvey, Bjork, Radiohead, Beck all artist who follow similarly singular musical pathways and again that speaks volumes about Elea Calvet’s own ideas as to the road that she should take. It would be very easy for her to take a quick and easy route to being just another female fronted alt-rock band, which is exactly what such agents and managers would put on the posters in an effort to sell exactly the wrong aspects of the music to the wrong sort of people for a quick buck, but already she has proven that she has a firm hand on the musical tiller as she steers the musical ship through far more interesting waters.

Sacrifice is not only a triumph, the best release from her to date, it is a brilliant statement of intent, one that raises some exciting expectations as to what the next few years hold in store for her and of course beyond that…well, anything is possible.

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