Plike is a brainchild of Austin based composer and producer Mad Madam Em. Veela, Holly Drummond, and Francesca Genco are the vocalists on Red Queen, White Queen. It’s a wicked combination of cutting edge production and often beautiful vocals that are dripping with melancholy.
Musically, artists like Bjork, Portishead and even Burial came to mind. There is an ethereal quality, that feels meditative and emotionally heavy. I wouldn’t call this music playful. You can find yourself immersed in contemplative thought when you listen to the layers of vocals harmonies, atmospheric pads and much more.
The album opens with “The Proving Grounds” which is indicative of the overall vibe of this album. Almost all the energy of the song is from the drums. The angelic background vocals, bells and synths are almost pure atmosphere. Even the vocals feel like they are grouped in this sub section of the music. The juxtaposition is quite enjoyable and the percussion really is enough to not make this feel like ambient music.
Slight deviations are presented as the album progresses. The percussive elements are intricate ear candy on “Never Always” while “Stigmatized” is a dynamic highlight that contains warm orchestral strings and percussion that sounds like it could be used in an epic battle scene in a movie. The fast paced “Stage Five” and instrumental and lush “Headroom (feat. ASH)” were the other standouts. That being said I enjoyed every track.
The reason this album works so well is that the songs feel like they are torn from the same cloth which is a crucial aspect in making an album really work. Even more importantly it feels like Em has really established a sound. That's really one of the hardest aspects of making music which unfortunately some artists never reach.
Red Queen, White Queen sounds modern and relevant to my ears. Recommended.
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