Blisteringly pretentious and undeniably pretty, Elaine Lachica’s debut album is either the greatest thing you will ever hear or a steaming pile of bad poetry and weird arrangements. Or both. But she’s definitely on to something here, so listen up, kiddies.
These nine songs (hence the title) are experimental shoegaze trip-hop pop tunes; her Peabody-trained soprano floats rather beautifully over her piano and keyboard washes, interacting and interacting with itself. She lists Tori Amos as a touchstone, which is about right, except that she’s not a complete stone nutter like La Tori — but there’s a great deal of Kate Bush here, and not a little bit of Jeff Buckley as well. “Garlands Racing” is sexy, like a librarian getting down after work with a couple of glasses of white wine and a Portishead CD.
If you’re still reading (instead of having run far away), be warned: Lachica is no Kate or Jeff, and she’s got a way to go before she’s even Tori. Her lyrics don’t make anyone think twice, as they lack all specificity to anything (sample, from “Sirens”: “And oh what about sunshine / What about saviors / What about happiness“), and they’re crooned so ethereally that they pass through without taking roots in the listener’s consciousness. And yeah, most of these songs are, ultimately, boring and new-agey.
But Elaine Lachica has got one hell of a voice, and a lot of ambition, and some chord changes straight from heaven. If she could learn to make us care about what she cares about, and if she could sing with a little more passion — even at the expense of her natural beauty — she’ll make an impact.
Elaine Lachica: http://elaine_lachica.home.mindspring.com