Olya - Carefully
We take a look at Carefully today, by Moscow-born-currently in NYC-Olya. From big stages in Moscow to the Bowery Electric in Manhattan's East Village, Olya has been navigating her way and making a name for herself in this constant-evolving musical landscape. This is her debut EP.
There are two things that immediately jumped out at me when I first started playing this. First, it starts off smooth as hell with this jazzy lounge song called "Independ-a-nt". It definitely falls into some world-music genre with its Latin and Middle Eastern flare. I was pleasantly surprised. Second, Olya comes in with a fairly strong Russian accent. This totally threw me off. I was expecting it to annoy me after awhile, but it never did. It's sexy. It also doesn't hurt that she has a nice voice. About two minutes into the song, there's a brief Santana-like guitar solo. Very nice touch. Strong start for the record.
My favorite track on here is "Tsaritsa". A ballad sung in her native language, I can't comment on the lyrics, but it sounds beautiful and leaves me wanting more. "LetItGo" is plain funky, in the vein of The Brand New Heavies (remember them?). It has a nice steady rhythm bordering on the sound of Guru's Jazzmatazz records.
The EP's title track, "Carefully", is the second ballad. Mainly voice and guitar until the drums kick in about a minute and a half into it. The most interesting part of the song comes thirty seconds after this, when Olya does her own call-and-response-style harmony.
Overall, Carefully is a decent EP. I didn't think "WhatYouDo" and "Links" were as strong as the others on here. And since there are only a total of six tracks, that of course matters. But we have a showcase of a young talented singer. One with a crap-load of style. One who's worth checking out. One who definitely has the chops to make some good music. Russian or American, for that matter.
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