With galloping guitars, unusual electronics, and quirky fantasy lyrics, Stella Kronopoulou cemented her place as one of the most popular young artists in her native Greece. Since his debut in 2015, Chronopolo, who records as ΣtellShe paired her Malaysian harmony with dream pop music to tell seductive everyday stories that need only small details like Beer, wine and strong meals to paint a complete picture. For the most part, she has established herself in 21st century pop, but in her catalog you can sometimes identify a group of traditional European music, as in 2017 “works for youIt is decorated with mandolin and a composite flute.
on me up and awayIt is Chronopoulou’s debut album for Sub Pop, those traditional European sounds move to the fore. Produced by Tom Calvert, aka Redinho, the music abounds with finger-picked nylon guitar lines inspired by Grigoris Bithikotsis and Tzeni Vanou, two of Chronopoulou’s favorite Greek pop musicians of the 1960s and 1970s. You can also hear the influence of the Houston world band Khruangbin, which Chronopoulou and Calvert linked in the studio. Like that band, whose adventurous music gradually settled into a dull texture, the experiment wasn’t always a hit, and their mix of desert blues, psychedelic, and Greek pop erases the idiosyncrasies of Σtella’s best songs, recording little more than background music.
Chronopoulou and Calvert’s incorporation of new voices limits the sharpness that made her previous work so attractive. The glorified smoky drums on “Nomad” sure are fun, but the song is fun Just Fun – nothing left about it. An hourglass slow guitar line and Chronopoulou’s sleepy vocals make the song sound as if she and Calvert poured her raw material into the exact mold of her “Feelings” playlist. “Who Cares” is a direct homage to Chronopoulou’s Greek-pop inspiration, but the rhythm and bass, along with Chronopoulou’s vocals, are so prickly that you’re more likely to tune in than tune in. The problem isn’t that Chronopoulou’s music can run out of modern pop fare: the revitalized title track from her 2020 top Stop The driving disco rhythm is skillfully combined with playful jagged chords that evoke highlights from MIA‘s calla. Lacking the vision to distinguish music from its influences, Otella’s most visible forays into Greek music are often landed as her most directionless work to date.
Chronopoulou’s voice, which can purr with a slight vibration or scrape the sky, doesn’t help bury much deeper in the mix. in 2015”Wait for meHer voice control and clarity might make the strangest lyrics—including, of all things, “Shake My Ass Like a Squirrel”—sound serious and endearing. up and away, when her voice can be audible at all, is infused with effects that mask her quirks and embed her voice into the hardware. The rhythm and jazz guitar of “Black and White” often blurs her lyrics, and when she cuts through the darkness, she sings nondescript lines like “Oh, I don’t understand you” and “You changed your mind / But I don’t care anymore.”
The best moments up and away Enhance what is lacking in the worst. The title track is a composition-driven invigorating gem, a rare example of Chronopoulou transforming its effects into sound that is felt, with hand-claps adding a dance-like rush during the chorus. The song “Another Nation” brings strange but charming lyrics back to the Σtella formula (“run like a pink flamingo/You’re used to some prison language”), and is based on the recordings’ most catchy guitar line. Towards the end of the second clip, Chronopoulou reaches the highest and most exciting parts of her record: she seems ready to jump off the page and back again. StopThe most acoustic offering that fills the headphones, but it never really gets there. Instead, you leave some slack ohsand ahhhs, and after that, the song ended.
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