If you have been reading QBiM for a few years now, you’ve more than likely encountered my raving and praising Vivek Shraya, whose last LP, Keys & Machines, produced one of my favourite moments of 2009, “In/Out”. Shraya has proven himself to be an electro-pop song wizard of the highest order, and a new release from him is always cause for celebration, and usually causes some shimmying and shaking, too.
To say that his newest EP, 1:1 was an unexpected detour into acoustic singer-songwriter territory would be an understatement, but changing things up is de rigueur fro Shraya. His dance-pop songs were a change up from his earlier, more folk leaning songs, and, in hindsight, 1:1 brings those two disparate elements of his sound together. In fact, it almost serves as an aural history of his career arc. Opener “Discerning” is built on strings, piano, and layered vocals that could easily have been pinned by a thumping drum track underneath. Instead, it’s ebb and flow comes from Shraya’s vulnerable vocal performance. The EP’s title track moves into singer-songwriter with a guitar territory, and does so convincingly. But, by the time we get to the six-song EP’s two closing tracks, “Worst Of Me” and “Crisis” (which could easily have been in the tracklisting of his last album) , the synths of his last two albums return, punctuating and adding yet another tone to 1:1.
The result is a more muted, subtler Vivek Shraya than on Keys & Machines. Unexpected, yes, but still very much welcome. He is, after all, a multifaceted talent, whose a published author as well as a musician, never afraid to let what’s going on inside himself manifest itself in his art.
1:1 is available as a digital EP from Vivek Shraya’s Bandcamp page now.
Tags: NEW MUSIC, Vivek Shraya