One album in a year is enough for most recording artists these days, the thought of a second in such a short time is enough to send many dashing for that inevitable five year hiatus. Not so much the case with Sol Seppy who has managed two releases this year. It was quite a shock for this reviewer to move from the point of discovery to a deluge of tracks in quick succession. But it was a nice shock all the same.
Sol Seppy is classically trained pianist and cellist Sophie Michalitsianos and her debut album The Bells of 1 2 was released earlier this year. Yet like so much in life it eluded me until recent times and despite the lateness of my review I couldn’t let this one slip by unmentioned.
In fact it’s hard to know where to start when you consider the album. Comparisons with other female singer/songwriters are inevitable but in this instance I would say perhaps a touch unfair. Sol Seppy has a gentility and urbanity that dare I say it might just be beyond the reach of her peers. Her songs possess simplicity and a little rawness to them. Behind the beauty of the breeze like vocals on tracks like Injoy there is something a little bit dark loitering in the vicinity. Lyrically there is a strong sense of poetic abandon to her constructions and these carefree sounding moments only add to the beauty of the songs. The single Human is a thing of child like fragility. It might dally with the playful punching of the likes of Bjork and maybe a sliver of her vocal idiosyncrasies. But if I was going to make comparisons of what she does with voice and lyric I’d be inclined to move towards Thom Yorke as a better comparison. Elsewhere songs like Answer To The Name Of and Wonderland illicit feelings of Durutti Column with extended glass like sections of guitar work before the vocals enter and just briefly I’m reminded of Cocteau Twins. Either way it’s a gentle joy to experience and one where the influences tend to flash through in brief bursts before originality is re established. And if you’re looking for a truly heart stirring moment the look no further than the closing track Enter One. Beautiful
The more recent release Pssscheeow is almost a continuation of the debut album albeit containing two tracks from its predecessor (Human, Come Running). The other offerings however and have a slightly less ethereal touch than the earlier work. If anything the backdrops are slightly earthier and organic affairs (Don’t Sock The Tryer) while other tracks blend dark and light shades to create a guttural sense of melancholy (Wholesome Way). The conversational ordinariness of Dining Along with its slightly pissed ramble of the song with its ‘who are you trying to kid’ happiness leaves you wondering whether the author is waiting to laugh or cry. There’s no irony that the mournful Casals is the piece to follow it.
Looking at the two collections The Bells of 1 2 should be on your essential purchases to add to your albums of the year. With its playful, yet sometimes mournful nature it’s an album that deserves more attention than it has received so far. The second collection Pssscheeow serves as a worthy companion piece if not perhaps possessing quite the same impact. However at this point scouting round your record shop should yield either at a more than reasonable price so in both cases I would say cast caution to the wind and enjoy.