Elika: Girls Be Serious (two of three)
Saint Marie Records

This second in a planned trilogy of seven-inch releases (limited to 250 copies) from Brooklyn's Elika contains one of the most stirring songs of this or any year. Having crafted electronic pop since 2006, Evagelia Maravelias and Brian Wenckebach—newly joined by Khaya Lou (from Mahogany) and Andrew Kwasny—strike gold with the disc's A-side “Your Secrets,” so much so that the accompanying song, as decent as it is, can't help but be overshadowed.

“Your Secrets” is distinguished by an alluring vocal by Maravelias whose delicate quiver sounds strikingly similar to Madonna's during her “Papa Don't Preach” days (a good thing, by the way). Entering on a wave of blurry synth washes and gently buoyed by a slow, dreamlike pulse, “Your Secrets” establishes a serene groundwork of softly cooing vocals and electric guitar patterns out of which Maravelias's plaintive voice emerges with quietly hypnotic force. Five minutes of honey-coated pop bliss, it's one of those rare cases where the song's verses are as delicious as the choruses. On the flip, “Truest Heart” opens with a minute of hazy electronics before the song's electropop side takes over, with this time Maravelias's singing muffled somewhat by the density of the synthesizer-heavy arrangement. In general, “Truest Heart” emphasizes moodscaping over melodic hooks, which renders it the less memorable of the single's songs. But no matter: the single is worth the purchase price for the A-side alone.

October 2014