I know what you’re thinking: “Keep Shelly in Athens?” Look, coming up with a good band names is hard. Just ask Atomic Mass (they eventually changed their name to Def Leppard). This band is not from REM’s Georgia hometown; they’re a duo from the Athens, Greece neighborhood of Kypseli. Or, as one YouTube commenter explained: “Those aren’t hipsters those are Europeans.”
This is the second album by KSiA (as their fans refer to them) but the first featuring new vocalist Myrtha, who took over for the much-loved Sarah P. Myrtha’s voice shares some of the same sweeping loveliness of Sarah P.’s but adds a poppier flavor to the mix; certain tracks, such as “Line 4 (Orange)” and “Nobody” even recall the insistent pep of late-80s Madonna of the “True Blue” and “Like a Prayer” era. No, really! It’s unexpected and charming.
The overall vibe of KSiA, though, is pure chillwave frothiness, in the best sense. With heavily layered vocals and smooth beats courtesy of composer/producer RPR (the duo’s other half), “Now I’m Ready” is a propulsive, atmospheric confection studded with some pleasingly New Wave aesthetics. That said, their slower, moodier songs (“Fractals,” “Hunter”) are seductive, too.
Buzzy Jackson's newest book is "The Inspirational Atheist: Wise Words on the Wonder and Meaning of Life" (Penguin/Plume). She writes for the Boston Globe and on her own blog at BuzzyJackson.com. Buzzy lives in Boulder, Colorado and she believes that, some day, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey will get back together.
They just have to.