Saturday, March 16, 2019

EP Review: LIYA "Listen" (Blind Mice Productions) by Dave Wolff

Artist: LIYA
Place of origin: Tel Aviv, Israel
Genre: Darkwave, synthpop, electronic
EP: Listen
Date of release: December 28, 2018
Since the age of five the Israeli musician Liya had a natural predilection toward playing the piano. Even when she was being instructed in traditional approaches to the instrument, she wrote and created from her imagination. Artists and musicians who take to instruments when young always prove to possess a certain adeptness, and on “Listen” Liya is no exception. The fascination that led her to discover piano lasted through her teenage years and into her early twenties, when she was fully immersed in the keyboard, synth and electronic percussion fueled music birthed in the 1980s. Much of what came out then could sound one dimensionally quasi-futuristic, and didn’t last the decade. “Listen” displays more potential to offer, as it’s a multi-layered expansion of what Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, The Sisters of Mercy and The Birthday Massacre were and are capable of, which is why those bands still have an audience. The synthpop, electro, darkwave and industrial shades of the EP feature breadth and depth that is felt as well as heard. My first listen admittedly didn’t leave an impression; it first struck me as being typical electronic synthpop. As I listened a few more times my perception shifted toward the thought and care that was channeled into these tracks. Liya’s human elements make “Listen” a cut above the rest. I feel in her presence a droid-human hybrid establishing its existence in the mechanized future noir which is the EP’s predominant theme. With atmosphere and devotion to her inner self, Liya is haunting and beautiful on cerebral and visceral levels, creating a sexuality that is the ideal antithesis of any and all pop divas, with enough musical talent to validate it. She personifies bewitchment of an entirely different caliber; by that virtue she easily out classes the Madonnas and Lady Gaga’s of the entertainment world. Her humanity bleeds over into the multilayered compositions backing her up, especially in “Always About You” and the title cut where she shows she is naturally vulnerable by speaking what’s in her soul. This is one artist who deserves recognition aboveground for taking a chance and heading down her own path. -Dave Wolff

Liya Trebitch: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Holding On
2. No Meaning
3. Always About You
4. Listen

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