• Mon, Nov 28, 2022
Reviews

Aditi Iyer Excels On Emotive EP

8.0

album Reviews Dec 23, 04:44pm

'Dollhouse' is theatrics and drama done right

Aditi Iyer is a 17 year old vocalist from Mumbai. This here EP, ‘Dollhouse’, is her second with a bunch of covers out on the internet too. Feel old yet? While you should, Aditi’s early start is symptomatic of something that’s been happen in the indie for a fair while now: artists starting out hilariously early. Access to resources, DAWs on laptops and the good old practice of A&R people relentlessly scouting young talent has contributed to this. As listeners, we often cut these new artists a hell of a lot of slack (oh come on, they’re just young), but this EP is a clear statement of intent. This isn’t some early release that is just presented as an indication of what an artist will do years later. This is serious stuff. Seriously good stuff at that.

There are four tracks on this release. They follow and pay requisite attention to many pop tropes, but the production is what keeps them sounding fresh. There are some interesting sonic decisions that are taken here, and many of them are to do with general atmosphere. Warm, dark synths and guitars are played up against tight, often staccato drums. And over all this, there’s Aditi’s vocals; clear as a bell and very upfront. This creates a feeling of unease in a way; the songs are almost uncomfortable in the space they occupy. Of course, the songwriting goes the other way. The pop way.

It’s all about the hooks on this EP. ‘Hollow’ starts out with a great arrangement of synths and a rather menacing (for the genre) groove that Aditi supplements with equally evocative singing. She does this a lot throughout the fourteen-odd minutes of music presented here; there are moments where she lets her chops do the job and plays that up against quieter, tenderer passages. ‘Hollow’ has an out-and-out pop chorus that is interestingly sparse. ‘Tearing Me Open’ is a much more upbeat affair (tonally) with warm guitars and layered vocals. There’s a much more modern approach on this tune. ‘Your Photograph’ is probably the best track on here. Aditi leans fully into the drama of her sound and just lets all her melodies rip. The four-on-the-floor bridge is a delight and the chorus it flows into even more so. She deals with some heavy subject matter here, covering abuse and so on, and her strong but emotional approach supports this with aplomb. ‘Withdrawals’ caps things off with a much more pronounced synthpop vibe and what sounds like catharsis (in an odd, roundabout way) with a wistful look back. That’s not the kind of thing you’d expect from an artist this early in their career.

And that’s the problem. We shouldn’t lower our expectations because of something like age. Aditi Iyer is making a serious, fully developed attempt at great songwriting on ‘Dollhouse’. Sure, talent is one thing but intention is another. And her intentions are strong and fully realised. We should respect that by forgetting about all the smoke and just enjoying the music.

 

Listen to the EP here.

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