Young Australian violist Lupa J released her new EP this year after the excellent The Seed a while back. At the age of just 18 it’s amazing to hear how much depth and passion the singer/songwriter has as she wraps her instrument of choice around quirky but catchy electronica.
Opener “Numb” hops around electronic keyboard samples and a throbbing pulse beat that unravel slowly into your ears. Lupa J’s voice is sultry and full-bodied and she uses it to excellent effect. She chooses to not raise it or shout, but it’s in her rage of tone and volume that her secrets lie. This all comes together perfectly in the standout “Game” which finds her violin and vocals heavily layered into strong loops and a big beat. Unlike the previous track which layers itself subtly, this one goes for the cinematic pop effect – both are fantastic and worthy of mass radio play. “Interlude” quickly washes everything away with an ethereal chill out section before “Broken Mirrors” sneaks in. It’s lazy drum beats and dark undertones of bass and string as she weaves lyrical prowess. In particular this one stands out as one of the more direct tracks as she sings “Is it really the mirror who lies – or am I the broken one?”
“Philomela” is the most abstract track on the album as it flips between string sections that brood and growl to dreamlike key chimes and warped vocals that sound like shrill ghosts swirling from ear to ear. What it does show is how varied a palette Lupa J can bring with a relatively small set of instruments and toys. “Teeth and Loud Talk” is a really clever track because it channels through me like a slow motion conversation. The melody is repetitive and like a clock passing moment and yet it pulls you in through the verses and in the coda’s the pace and tone shift like your brain is shifting up a gear trying to whizz ahead. The EP closes with the titular “My Right Name” which is the soul ballad on the release. Even then it’s pushing the ballad trope to the edge because it’s so rich and full of sound but sadness. I love it when an artist chooses to not rush things and can let their tracks breath whilst keeping things from being over indulgent and here she hits it perfectly as she sings “I draw blood from empty veins” we are taken from the tiniest of sounds to an empty choir and back again to a faint babies cry. Beautiful.
It’s not often I’m completely in tune with someone from the very first listen but I simply clicked with this EP instantly. This is alt-pop at its very finest and I heartily recommend it to all.
Recommended track : Game