Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Spellling "The Turning Wheel" (2021)


In search of new sounds and experiences, I've found a record strung out with familiarity yet blindingly powerful in its execution of inspiration. It works for me, something I could swiftly get into and mull over these last few weeks. Chrystia Cabral, the brains behind the Spellling name, lends her immaculate voice to a timely orchestration of genre influences adjacent to the world of popular music. She is a powerhouse of breathy expression, rooted in classic soulful stylings. Her range is wide, diving with a masculine low on Magic Act and sailing to a childish, playful resonance on Little Deer. With each of these arrangements offering up a different temperament, she is the beacon that shines and guides us through these twelve offerings as they grow increasingly atmospheric, occasionally peering into a brittle darkness.

I could easily rattle off lists at this point. With a backbone of warm baselines, Organs, Pianos, String, Horns and strong vocal harmonization parade upfront in a variety of compositions that usher in many vibes. Pop music of the 60s, Soul, R&B, a little Jazz, Chamber Pop and Lounge too. There are subtle electronic influences worming there way in too. Always sounds more like an 80s Synth-pop ballad and after the slow brewing Awaken, aligned strongly with Classical ideas, the album starts to open up. Emperor With An Egg accrues various waveform instruments alongside its Classical instrumentation and the following Boys At School at school hints at Synthwave vibes which blossoms on Queen Of Wands, a track akin to Chelsea Wolfe's Pain Is Beauty. Its use of wobbly, eerie, spooky Horror synths a sensibility here that resurfaces, seemingly at odds with the mood of Sweet Talk. Little moments like this are littered throughout, sounds that seem out of context but work wonderfully.

I could go on but essentially we have bright and clear instrumentation arranged wonderfully with beautiful aesthetics and expressive instrumentation that despite showing its influences, feels entirely distinct as the web of influences weave together. The record sets out feeling more Soul and Baroque pop oriented but swells of instrumentation gives it a Progressive edge that blossoms as the songs continuously explore, bringing in more instruments, sounds and aesthetics as it goes on. Its melodies too often feel interchanged between these style, ushering in just the strangest sense of ideas in action. One can almost see the blueprint yet its outcome feels completely inspired and magical, without any design.

Rating: 8/10