London-based singer Helen Culver flirted with major label success back in 2010, though due to differences of creative opinion, she decided to walk away. She chose instead to work with her long time friend Liam Alexander who both produced and composed all of the music on Culver’s debut six- song EP Critic’s Choice.
Critic’s Choice was recorded over a period of two years, during which Culver and Alexander wrote and recorded more than twenty different tracks. From those twenty they chose what they considered to be the best six to mix, master and release. Perhaps that length of time is why the album seems split in half. The first three tracks are radio friendly pop songs, with at times funny and flirtatious lyrics, where as the other three show off Culver and Alexander’s more experimental efforts.
The EP opens with the oddly titled “Krokodil” (think crocodile) a techno-pop infused tune perfect for the club scene. The beats bounce off the wall, while laser-beam sounding synths and scaly samples like warning sounds at a nuclear reactor plant about to blow, help to build the track up to its drop bass interludes. Culver’s lyrics help to illustrate a relationship gone awry, as she sings, “With teeth that sharp / Don't you dare smile / I can see your scales /Y ou wanna be hostile / You're a krokodil.”
The next tune “Touch Me” is another clubby number though here the beats take a back seat as the scratchy synths move the dance-inducing melodies along. On “Touch Me” Culver now becomes the predator with crisp vocals and lyrics both orgasmic and witty she tells the tale of a woman in a club who wants a man to take her home, singing, “You're not the only one staring / But you're the only one daring / To come over and talk to me / See if we got chemistry.”
Again in “Hands Tied” Culver’s lusty lyrics tell the tale of man so looking to get laid by that he offers to let himself be pinned into submission. This tale of seduction is set against bouncy beats that lead into synth soaked choruses. By the song’s end, Culver uses a lyrical twist, hinting at the fact that it is now the woman who wants to be tied up.
Beginning with the next track “Here to Use You” the album takes a dark turn both musically and lyrically. Here Culver’s spacey sounding vocals echo across smooth siren-like synths and machine pounding drums.
“Ghost” opens with a haunting piano riff and ghostly samples like wind howling through a forest full of dead trees. Worth noting here is how Culver shows off her vocal range. On the chorus her voice is sharp and powerful, hitting all the high notes with expert precision. The EP closes with the sweeping epic, “Enjoying the Ride.” Bringing the album to its culmination it blends together all the best elements from the previous tracks as it moves from a prophetic pop ballad and finishes in a fugue of dance inducing techno pop. Your ears will be glad Culver invited you along for the ride.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook