Back in 2008 the New York-based duo of Elika unleashed an exciting brand of edgy electro-pop with strident vocals and hook-laden effects. Since then, Evagelia Maravelias and Brian Wenckebach have refined their approach and earned support slots with shoegaze specialists Asobi Seksu and Ulrich Schanuss, as a result. Their new album ‘Always The Light’ is a further move towards a more abstract sound without foregoing their melodic flair.
Those critics who compare Maravelias’s vocals to Madonna’s (this reviewer included) will find further ammunition on the album opener. Indeed the serene, subtle electronica of ‘Stay Beside Me’ wouldn’t have sounded out of place during Madge’s late 90’s ambient pop phase. Thereafter, the music retreats into more familiar uncommercial waters and stays there.
‘We Have It All’ is awash with squelching electronics and Teutonic rhythms, ‘Count Your Steps’ combines glitch with ambience, whilst the impressive ‘No One Gets Lost’ sees Maravelias toy between the roles of chill-out singer and evil diva. On the flipside, the duo perform less well on the watered down ‘Trials’ and the perfunctory interludes.
For ‘Always The Light’, the experimental edge is to the fore even if the addictiveness factor is occasionally missing. The result is an inventive but often subdued album and one where it’s unfortunately hard to remember several of the songs after they’ve finished playing.
Elika Official Site