By Rachel Cho
Released April 22nd, 2014 - Aston Road
Wellington based artist Estère, has released her self-titled 7 track album on Bandcamp. Its smooth and soulful vocals, layered over multiple facets of musical savvy, renders the album as one that gets better and better with each successive listen.
Opening with 'Reptilian Journey', we are eased into a groovy and minimal beat that is initially ambiguous and unpredictable. As it progresses, we are met with her fresh and soulful vocals that almost seem to simultaneously fill and cleanse the ears. The song progressively grows more likable, just as the album does, leading to the track I Spy which entails her words bouncing rhythmically as it mingles with what sounds like whistling in the background. As playful and light as it sounds, one shan't be fooled, for the lyrical content is of no playful equivalence. In a playful manner, she sings of poverty stricken children, strenuousness of work and people consumed with greed. Vocalising this through the eyes of a child viewing her surroundings through the lens of "I spy with my little eye..." - the hallmark childhood game which we can all recall. 'Patchwork Soldier' and 'Thoughts' eases us into a progressively multilayered dreamy sonic universe, one which Estère assertively walks us through.'Culture Clash' lightly offers us some personal weight which is interesting to speculate on. Through her sonic avenue of expression, she tells us that she is "a child of culture clash" as she ruminates on her mixed race cultural identity. With the closing track 'Pity', the record ends heavily and evokes the need to repeat the journey that Estère has just walked us through.
The album consists of moderately long bouts of instrumentals in between her smooth, soulful vocals. Constantly interspersed with minimalistic groovy beats, that are opportune for dancing and grooving at her live shows. Her album carries a sound that expresses a hybrid of Little Dragon and Erykah Badu, tinted with undertones of Watercolours (NZ). Though the album appears slightly repetitive upon first listen, successive listens really unfold the uniqueness of each track that is really quite magical. The album's distinct, unique sound complements her equally unique image; a culmination of quiet confidence and seemingly inherent quirk. Though it appears light and almost breezy, closer listens reveal its depth and weight, rendering the album something really special.