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GEA – “Butterflies” Review

One great song, but an album that's wrong

Distinctive voices. They are often complete marmite – you’ll love them or hate them and often they are what defines an artist. GEA’s Nordic hushed pixie tones are a blessing and a curse in unequal measure. She sounds like a spiteful child that’s older than the forests you go to for contemplation. That part, and the fact she goes into a very high register often is lovely. The offset is she spends most of her time, to my ear at least, completely out of tune.

“Alone” is the standout track and single. It’s simple piano melody, topped off with witchy dulcimer like plucks and twangs let GEA lament about a life of solitude. The thin Nordic string arrangement is enchanting. Her singing if taut, to the point and at a crossroads between dramatic and ethereal. It’s a superb track, and one I introduced the readers to last year with much excitement. The album never reaches anywhere near that peak again. The rest of tracks are either simplistic piano based ballads that have little going on to distract you from how off-key GEA is going, or in the second half, there’s some really odd production choices. “Real Me and You” sounds like it’s not been mastered and recorded from someone else’s cassette tape. It’s a good melody and an uptempo track but the vocals of smash together in a mumbled mess and GEA’s not in the same note everyone else is. “Enemy” is genuinely haunting in places but it’s as if transitioning between octaves, GEA doesn’t quite know what to do. It’s an issue that plagues an album that has the off 15 to 20 seconds of genius, that then comes crashing down to earth.

It’s not often I post a negative review about music – it’s very much down to personal choice and interpretation. However, on this instance, the sheer beauty of “Alone” completely mis-sells what this album does, and whilst I’m sure some will enjoy someone who spends her singing 50/50 on and off-key, I personally struggled to replay it for review several times and lament at just how great it could have been if she’d either gone with her convictions or played it safer vocally.

Recommended Track: Alone

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