Steph Linsdell aka Quintessential Doll combines a varied assortment of electronics, piano, progressive beats and some of the memorable hooks I have heard this year. Her debut EP Songs of a Wallflower is a gem of an album that is bursting with creativity and raw talent. Quintessential Doll is a versatile, talented musician who has crafted some of the catchiest songs I have listened to. Not only are they that catchy but also they have unique sounds that are reminiscent of bands like the Notwist, Bats for Lashes and Bjork. For example, the deep electronic beats, glitches, and blips. What separates Linsdell from these other bands is that the piano plays such a central role in the songs. The piano is never manipulated but sounds tantalizing when in contrast with the electronic elements. What’s even more impressive is that the Songs of a Wallflower EP project was a completely independent and self-produced effort: all songs were written, performed, recorded and mixed by Quintessential Doll.
The album starts with “Would You” which contains a piano part that sounds vaguely similar to “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem but that is really where the comparisons stop. Once you hear Linsdell’s voice you know you are in for a good ride as the harmonies cascade before a delicious, delayed break beat enters the rhythm. The song has a very forward-progressive feeling as if it were racing towards the finish line. There are just enough changes in melody and instrumentation. The second song tones thing down a bit with a slower bpm and a more melancholy type feel but is still a great listen. The electronic elements are the focal center of “New Year’s Eve” which is not unlike one of the most underrated bands Lali Puna. The glitches, bleeps and blips work well with the softly-spoken poppy vocal melodies. The EP concludes with “Pretty Boys & Girls” which is an upbeat closer that displays all of her talents. You heard it here first folks. This is a standout album that has me very excited waiting for her next release and what her future holds.
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