Salomea is a genre-hopping group led by Cologne-based vocalist Rebekka Salomea Ziegler, and in this self-titled debut it reveals as much about what influences and inspires its members as about the newness those musicians can fashion from socio-cultural building blocks. Remarkable for such a song-focused project is how much each member stands out in relief. From the opening skitter of "Magnolia Tree," for instance, we recognize the ability of drummer Leif Berger to transport the listener into a sound-world all Salomea's own. Add to that the spacy touches of keyboardist Yannis Anft and the bass of Oliver Lutz, and one has a formula for atmospheric integrity. Amid this gorgeousness, the bandleader's voice comes across as smooth yet barbed, waiting to catch on to anything and everything in its path as a means of creative absorption. Berger's brilliance is further evident on "Letter No. 1," in which themes of pent-up anger and release feed a deeply rooted feeling of infraction in dire need of resolution. It's like watching a relationship in reverse, spinning blind joy out of inner turmoil.
Salomea herself is a wonder, navigating complex emotional territories without a compass. From the spoken-word bliss of "Do It All" and "Bardarbunka" (which sports the noteworthy line, "there's no need to reinvent Never Never Land") to the personal soundings of "M," she understands the vitality of harmony in a dissonant world. And somewhere, between the ambience of "Letter No. 2" and the a capella interlude of "Baby," she builds a wall of words over which we are invited to climb in search of our own relations to meaning.
Lyrically speaking, Salomea is a far-reaching songwriter, looking within to figure the without (and sometimes vice versa). She navigates changes, both musical and experiential, with a depth charge of emotion. Like a telepathic people watcher, she catches thoughts of passersby and holds each like a chunk of ore up to her jeweler's glass, leaving the rest up to the polishing cloths of our attention.
Magnolia Tree; Shout; Do It All; Baby; Letter No. 1; Letter No. 2; Lady; Bardarbunka; Hopscotch; M; Grave-D.
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