Olga Bell – “Incitation” Review

Olga Bell

Olga Bell

Having found out about Olga Bell through her Nothankyou collaboration (more of that duo please!), Incitation moves Olga away from her previous album Krai, which was a massively enthusiastic scattering of genres and ideas to a more synthetic indie dream pop vibe.

“Incitation” opens the album very reminiscent of some earlier Bjork music. It’s full of inventive sounds, bubbles, snaps and kicks whilst Olga’s voice cuts through it sharply. Then the chorus bursts into a percussive rapture as things move from ethereal to electric and angry. The transition catches you off guard at first but on repeat listens it’s fantastic. It’s funny because that track is an assault on the senses and “Rubbernecker” initially starts off as a sombre piano and vocal track. It quickly envelopes an off timed beat, microscopic synth beats and noises and symphonic keyboard synths. It takes its time to get going and its beauty is in letting the weird noises and Olga’s voice have plenty of space as the arrangements are complex but sparse to the ear for the most part. The lyrics are suitably ambiguous too.

“Pounder I” is where avant garde electronica and europop collide. The bass is a heavily grizzly bent chord that saws around siren like keyboards and harsh percussion and goes hand in hand with “Pounder II” which takes a similar theme but turns it into something more akin to a Bond theme song. Huge timpani drums smash over all the keyboards. Olga’s voice is strong and suits electronic music perfectly as she can hold notes strongly but give it a human touch too. “Goalie” closes the EP off, managing almost to avoid a proper melody, beat structure and immediate chord pattern but in the end it just about get’s there. It’s the most straight forward track here and reminds me of Oh Land in many ways. It feels quite oppressive and lethargic with a certain… Eastern Europe flair that you find throughout her work.

Incitation is about as far off the europop track you could take a usual song structure and still make something you can classify as pop with. Olga is always pushing boundaries and this is no exception. Unique, not for everyone, but there is something truly entrancing about her voice and the way she uses sound as a map to push your mind somewhere new without telling you where you are going.

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Categories: dream pop, electro pop, indie, pop, review, singer songwriter, synth

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