Elika: Girls, Be Serious (1 of 3)
Saint Marie Records

Here's an inspired concept: Brooklyn outfit Elika—multimedia artists Evagelia Maravelias and Brian Wenckebach joined by Khaya Lou (from Mahogany) and Andrew Kwasny—plans on issuing three seven-inch records one at a time over the course of the coming year. Full stop: if the other two are as good as the first one, the trilogy will be a fine set indeed. The group, recently handpicked as support for shoegazers Asobi Seksu and electronic soundsculptor Ulrich Schnauss, traffics in a kind of emotive dreampop of its own with a marked emphasis on lush vocals, programmed rhythms, and enveloping sound washes built from guitars and synthesizers.

The entrancing opener “Moving Faster” serves notice that Elika's sound is well worth giving one's attention to. Earmarked by plaintive guitar textures and a driving drum pulse, the song alternates between melancholic verses and soaring choruses, with the coup de grace a memorable coda where the lead singer's vocal delivery (and counterpoint) resembles a less mannered Madonna—a good thing! The slightly slower “Bury” is as entrancing, especially when the female singer's fragile lead comes wrapped in a multi-layered choir of wordless vocalizing and is ultimately joined by buzz-saw guitar textures to deepen the song's yearning tone. Numbers two and three can't arrive too soon.

December 2013