Album Review: Odessa EP

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Yesterday marked the release of the debut EP from Odessa, sure to be one of Chop Shop/Republic Records’ newest stars. The singer-songwriter hails from California, and after establishing herself as a backing violinist, only to be reawakened by a horrific biking accident, has quickly set her sights on making a name for herself.

Odessa has already been recognized by big names such as The New York Times and Nylon. She has been compared to Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, and Polica, but with a dash of style and sound that is all her own. Odessa definitely has the indie feel of these leading ladies, while also bringing a softer tone that feels soothing and organic. Talking about her writing, Odessa has explained, “Writing music is like an expression of what’s happening in life. It happens differently every time” (Dan Hyman, The New York Times). Odessa worked on her self titled EP with producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon) to create four unique tracks, including her acclaimed single, “I Will Be There.”

“I Will Be There” is a beautiful song, instantly conjuring up the word, “lovely,” both lyrically and musically. It is sweet and flowing, with a sense of smiling hope lingering with every breath.

“My Match” feels and sounds younger, particularly vocally. It is a simple song of love and crushes, much in line with traditional Taylor Swift, and not in a negative way. The song is innocent, sure to bring you back to the days of daydreaming and carefree pleasure.

“Hummed Low” definitely has elements of Lorde. It is also reminiscent of Native American music, with its distinct, rhythmic percussion and chant-like vocals. Because its sound is so different from the other tracks on the Odessa EP, this song was not a favorite. It felt forced and not as authentic to Odessa’s sound as the others.

“Gather Round” was another weaker track. It is much slower than the others, and such drawn out lyrics have never been a favorite of mine. It comes off pitchy and drab, and the extensive “oo”s and “oh”s did not hold my interest. However, these are classic traits of indie records, which always have at least one song that resembles “Gather Round,” so Odessa is not off her mark. It also gave me a strange connection to the story and ethereal atmosphere of Peter Pan. If nothing else, “Gather Round” has the power to evoke a strong sense of nostalgia.

Despite the critique, Odessa’s EP is well worth a listen.  You can download it here.  I will be eager to hear more from this artist, and hope that a full-length is not too far away.

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