Maya Jane Coles: Easier To Hide
I Am Me Recordings

Maya Jane Coles showed herself to be a force to be reckoned with when she helmed one of the year's most satisfying mix discs, specifically her contribution to the DJ Kicks series. That the early-2012 disc was also bolstered by two of her own originals, one under her real name and the other under the Nocturnal Sunshine alias, only added to the reputation she's been building in recent days, and this latest outing, a four-track EP on her I Am Me label, will add to it even more. All four cuts were written, performed, sung, engineered, and mixed by Coles, and its title track will re-appear when her debut album is released in 2013.

Introduced by a marauding bass pulse, “Easier To Hide” kicks into gear when the sleek house groove settles into position, paving the way for a lustrous vocal that sounds fantastic both when accompanied by the song's powerful rhythms or during those moments when the drums drop out. As infectious, “Over” uses a simple guitar riff as an insistent springboard for a clubby workout heavy on groove and atmosphere, while “Run With the Wild,” shifting the focus from guitar to organ, rolls out a delectably bouncy pulse punctuated by a trippy “Take your time” vocal refrain. “Back to Square One” slows the BPM slightly for a brooding, bass-prodded outro heavy on gothic atmosphere and a slinky house feel inflected with dub and funk. Nicely rounding out the EP, the piece tips the balance back from the clubbier vibe of the middle cuts to the more song-styled character of the opener.

What really appeals about Easier To Hide is the quality of Coles' songwriting. Though the material is certainly club-oriented, the tracks (two especially) impress as full-fledged songs, not merely functional jams or floor-fillers. Abetted by silky-smooth vocals that are strong as opposed to merely serviceable, the EP makes one look forward to the full-length with hope and anticipation.

January 2013