Having been seduced by The Strawberry Sessions EP a few years back, we have always had time and dreams over the melodic crafting and tones of its creator, UK singer/songwriter Strobegirl. Weaving a mix of pop, indie, and folk spices in a host of sultry embraces, the Croydon girl is one of Britain’s musical secrets. With the release of new EP How Are You? may be that hiding place will be under threat through its magnetic temptation. The release sees Strobegirl, better known to her stalkers as Heather-Jane, team up with fellow Croydon based artist D’Jaly. It is a tantalising union as evidenced by the seven track release, a collaboration which sets the new EP alongside the acclaimed Strawberry Sessions in temptation and imagination.
Strobegirl is no stranger to collaborations, having worked closely with producer Roger Fife (Cyndi Lauper, Anthony and The Johnsons, The Orphans) on her successful debut EP and subsequently the likes of UK Industrial band Illustrial as well as other artists on individual songs. Marked by dreamy shoegaze kissed textures to her music and vocals, Heather-Jane won indie artist of the year on Somojo radio in 2010 as well as being heavily played and promoted on various radio shows, especially the champions of independent music Audioburger. Her partner in invention upon the How Are You? EP and better known to his family as Jon Daly, has been emerging as an artist/producer through his infusions of electropop, house, and deep house. Originally called Unknown Tone with an electronic/dance flavouring to his creativity, Daly first released debut album the Fourth Dimension under his own name in 2008 before unleashing robotic dance machine 4000 in 2010 as Unknown Tone. Now the two artists have combined to craft a tantalising offering which joins both their styles in one electro pop persuasion, an encounter which leaves ears alive and passions feasted.
You Can’t Stop Me Now starts things off and immediately cloaks the ear in a melodic coaxing aligned to sultry keys all aided by a brassy temptation. It is a smouldering mix of funk and jazz within an elegant pop embrace, piano and the appealing vocals of Strobegirl casting an emotive allure which only accentuates the beauty of the melodies which brew, merge, and erupt with evocative flames across the song. It is a magnetic persuasion which soon recruits thoughts and hunger towards its impressive invitation into the release.
The following Nothing Else Counts Now unveils an electronic wash of grandeur and crystalline beckoning to make its entrance. Its initial coaxing is strong but arguably not as reassuring as to what will follow as the hinting found at the start of its predecessor. Those doubts are soon pushed aside though as the track twists its body to release a striking flame of Depeche Mode like melodic caressing littered with startling electro pulses and splurges of sound to shake up the song and expectations. Slight whispers of industrial and dubstep mischievously play their part in the bait of the song too and though the more general electronic course of the track is less inspiring than those elements, it is a refreshingly enterprising and imaginative eccentric dance within melodic witchery holding an almost spellbinding call.
Next You and My Heart steps forward with its own distinctive fusion of electronic eccentricity and electro pop bewitchment, the song another which comes with a devilry to offset and taunt the raging melodies and ever appealing vocals. Production wise the track does want a little, the clashing electro scatterings and climatic orchestral bred melodies often suffocating and overpowering the vocals, though to be fair it does also help a haunting breath to wash the piece which does the song no harm. Overall though despite the smothering it is a lingering wash of melodic persuasion which adds extra to the release if less potently as elsewhere.
The best two songs on the release come next, firstly Wake Up which admittedly we have a soft spot for having heard it in its early stages a while back. A summer wind of folk seeded pop placing the acoustic skills and vocal enchantment of Strobegirl in a rich electronic stimulus, the track is a warm stroll through evocative aural sorcery. Again the production is a touch claustrophobic but cannot derail a quite delicious croon of shoegaze revelry. With a chorus I dare you not to join in by its second tempting the song is one irresistible romance.
The title track is equally infectious in its individual way and passion conjuring character. With almost sinister shadows flitting in and out of the song as the keys play with light and dark intermittently within a flame hued melodic narrative, vocals and lyrics adding another bloom of passionate colour and imagination to the picture. The best track on the release if not quite the favourite, it is a thoroughly captivating incantation of Siouxsie and the Banshees mystique filtered through a restrained Propaganda sculpted beauty.
Completed by the Monster Electro Mix of You Can’t Stop Me Now and lastly the Deep House Mix of Nothing Else Counts, How Are You? is a delightful enveloping of the imagination and emotions, a release which might finally push Strobegirl and indeed D’Jaly in a new deserved spotlight.
The How Are You? EP is available as a buy now name your price download @ http://strobegirl-djaly.bandcamp.com/
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