Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

EP: Manett

March 24, 2015

stigmastyle

There’s something enigmatic and beguiling about Manett‘s Stigma Style EP.

The three songs all lope along, filled with the sorts of sonic markers that indicate dream pop: off-kilter keyboard rhythms in “The Birds (for Paulo)”; the flowing fingerpicking of “Treehouse”; gauzy, reverb-heavy guitar and underwater percussion in “A New View.”

Competing with these elements are aspects that seem out of place: glitchy beats; EDM-esque synth blares in “The Birds”; and elegant, formal pop songwriting chops in “Treehouse.” The mixture of these elements creates about an extremely varied 10 minutes and 45 seconds. It is a bit of a head-whip from tune to tune, but it’s all pulled off with a confident, assured hand–none of these songs feel like interlopers.

The thing that unites them and drew me in to this collection is the delicate voice of Rosa Bordallo (who is Manett). The Micronesia-to-NYC transplant has a sweet, calming voice that flutters somewhere between alto and soprano. Given the range of tunes here, she does a great job of deploying her voice to fit the situation. Bordallo dispatches languid “ooos” in the chilled-out “A New View,” whisper-sings carefully in the relaxed first half of “The Birds (for Paulo),” and delivers a high lead vocal melody over an acoustic guitar in the tightly structured “Treehouse.” Throughout each of the performances, the little fluctuations of tone in her voice are intriguing.

Manett’s Stigma Style introduces a singer/songwriter with a lot of ideas and a lot of talent with which to realize them. The 10 minutes of this EP are warm, calming, and intriguing, leaving me wanting more.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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