By: Nerhys Hall
For a young musician, 23 year old English singer-songwriter dodie knows how to make intriguing music. A DIY artist, her music has a distinctly baroque feeling to it with the use of string instruments and intricate layers weaving tapestries of sound. Even during the moments where the music sounds clean and simple, there is more beneath the surface.
The album opens with “Arms Unfolding”, a soft, atmospheric track where dodie’s sweet vocals sing over a sustained note. The vocals have an echo effect on them and harmonies are added. It’s the shortest song on the seven track EP. In contrast, the album ends with a more baroque sounding song called “Burned Out”. It features piano, mellow sounding mid-range strings (I’m guessing cello), and soft harmonized vocals. Additionally, the song doesn’t rely on the usual two or four beat time that pop music often uses, but rather in three — for my fellow musicians, it sounds like it’s in 3/8 or 6/8 compound time. The album fades out on an introspective tone.
Most of the vocals are female only, but songs three and four, “Not What I Meant” and “Human” respectively, add in male vocals. The third track begins with an acoustic guitar and features a soft and mournful string section. The male voice joins dodie’s in harmony. “Human” has a quicker tempo and begins with just dodie’s soft, clean vocals before adding male vocal harmonies underneath. Simple percussion adds new points of interest and there’s a really cool moment where the instruments drop out and only the vocals remain. Like many of the other songs, this track features a string section.
Songs five and six use a string section, too, but make use of pizzicato instead of straight bowing. “She”, the fifth track, much like song three, begins with acoustic guitar and has a mournful quality to it. Song six, “If I’m Being Honest” takes a different approach and sounds much more upbeat. The rhythm has a jaunty, bouncing quality. The longest track on the album, it begins with the organ and gradually the layers build and for short moments the song takes on a grand orchestral feeling.
Finally, the quickest song on the EP, “Monster”, sounds anthemic. The short intro sets up the upbeat, lilting tempo, electronic sounds, and clapping effects make it the stand out song on an overall fantastic album. The vocals are clean and at moments a chorus of vocals joins in. It gives the album an uplifting sound before the several mournful songs in the middle.
If you’re looking for something new and refreshing to listen to, you should definitely check out dodie’s latest EP, Human, when it releases on Friday January 18.