A genre-hopping tour de force of artistic pop and beats.
Easily one of the best things to come to art-pop in years, Sevdaliza’s most recent EP “Raving Dahlia” is a concept album about the music industry. In writing about how women in music are treated, the low and subdued dramatic vocals of the Iranian-Dutch singer-songwriter continue to provide food for thought. It also provides a dark underbelly groove too.
Each song has a vastly different style whilst all fitting the trademark dark artsy vibe of Sevdaliza’s back catalogue. “System” is a minimalist artsy trip-hop piece that lets you hang off of every word she sings. “High Alone” boarders on indie rock at times with its guitar edges and calm hooks. Lyrically the songs can speak both of escape and imprisonment of the music industry but more globally of any relationship that feels unhealthy. If I didn’t know in advance the EP was about the music industry, I’d have thought it was about toxic relationships – which says enough.
Sevdaliza’s ability to smash each genre she tackles continues to wow as you dance along with the mesmerising “Everything Is Everything”. Wiping the floor with a cross between Billie Eilish and Lady Gaga but slightly more twisted, it’s the most commercial and direct to the dancefloor she’s ever been. It’s super catchy too. As if to be the antidote to this, “The Great Hope Design” is a wildly experimental mash-up of industrial RnB rhythms, grimey vibrating synths and detuned neon-tinged back alley sounds. It sounds like an evil machine being rebooted into life – like a seductive end boss call. “Human Flow” is a beautiful acoustic folk ballad with finger-picked guitar and soft hushed vocals. Both beautiful and desolate in equal measure, it is devastatingly effective. I also spent ages thinking the chorus was sung “it’s the human fall” which works too, I guess. The EP then ends with a visceral remix of “Oh My God”. Its closing minute ramps up to a fast and furious hardcore house finale.
Visuals are also a key component of Sevdaliza’s work. Reminding me of Bjork in terms of visual scale and intensity, Sevdaliza’s music videos are an essential part of the process. I recommend watching the videos as a collection too as it provides an extra layer of depth to the music. Whilst “Raving Dahlia” leaps and bounds from genre to genre, each landing is aced. It also feels cohesive which so many musicians fail to make happen. An absolutely joyous discovery over the last few years, Sevdaliza should be on everyone’s radar.
Recommended track: Everything is Everything
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