Just because a girl can sing and has a harp doesn't mean she should get compared to Joanna Newsome but in the case of Sun Riah it seems inevitable. Sun Riah sometimes but not always has a gnome- like quality in her voice that has a similar inflection to that of Newsome. You’ll hear it especially when she doesn’t strain her voice. Despite some similarities Sun Riah is completely enjoyable all on her own despite the limitations of production she was presented with. On her Bandcamp page she says, “recorded in a bedroom with a shitty mic, a tired and worn harp, a broken ukulele, and a lot of love and sadness.” That sentence may sum it up but the quality of the recording isn’t that bad. I’ve heard much worse. Luckily, the music is so sparse she can get away with not having a couple of high-end mics, a treated room, etc.
Her release ..., the musical is often a combination of extreme melancholy and beauty that feels haunting. The reverb either natural or artificial on her harp provides the haunting aspects while her dynamic voice often contains melancholy and beauty.
Her songwriting is top notch throughout. The structures of the song are thought out and engaging.Take for example the first song “constant (the song on the porch)” where she starts the song singing a cappella “i am constant. i am a constant question mark. i am sadness. sadness and fallen apart. I'm just heavyhearted and sad, sad thoughts I trusted you, but somehow you forgot.” She sort of sounds like Bjork in the beginning, which isn’t all that surprising since Joanna Newsome sometimes get compared to Bjork.
“sad smile” is an awfully melancholy song but is also pretty darn good. Her voice is pretty dynamic here and she really lays into some of those notes. “songbird” was an experimental success as she combines vocal snippets in a collage of fragmented nostalgia and solace. Interesting ideas here that I would love to see more of in the future.
The last two tracks “for simps (part 1)” and “for simps (part 2)” could have been one track as there is little difference between the two. Solids track and a good way too close ..., the musical.
..., the musical seems like a solid first step for Sun Riah. I would love to hear her future releases be beefed up in terms of recording quality. Hopefully she can get into a professional studio or befriend an engineer. Some of the ideas could have been fleshed out a bit more but for the most part I was really enjoying what I was hearing. Overall ..., the musical was enjoyable and lays a foundation for the artist
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