‘It’s impossible to interpret it as anything other than intoxicating sophistication.’
Intro to Freya Roy:
First bringing us her effortless mix of jazz and soul earlier this year with the stunning ‘Midnight Train’ and the #FridayFinds playlisted ’22 Movements’ Freya Roy
returns with the incredible debut album ‘Ahlke’. Proving that these previous releases were far from a fluke, the live, yet highly polished sound of every track sees her keeping true to herself in both personal and musical senses. It’s little wonder then that Freya is right now in the middle of a UK tour and has gained recognition through Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent. Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Freya Roy.
Balancing a mix of atmospheric musical transportation with down-tempo waltz-like accents, Say Something makes for the perfect contrast to ‘Midnight Train’ which precedes it on ‘Ahlke’. Full of depth-generating reverb, it feels instantly sophisticated and soothing us through a multitude of emerging instrumental melodic lines, you could, like the rest of the album, listen to this opening for hours. Honestly. However, with the sound as it is, you do wonder how Freya will showcase her vocals. This wonder though is soon to turn to wonderment.
Mirroring the accompanying elements of the introduction in the most perfect of ways, Freya’s vocal enters in a way not heard in the tracks to this point of the album. Containing a mix of hushed inflections, seductively sinuous phrases and delicate pitch leaps it’s the kind of vocal could connect with on a different level every time. However, regardless of what the connection is, it’s impossible to interpret it as anything other than completely intoxicating sophistication. This said, ensuring that we do interpret it exactly that way, the initially dispersed ideas of the accompaniment blend in the smoothest of ways.
Continuing in much the same manner, on reaching the title lyrics that set up the chorus, Freya’s vocal becomes ever-more soulful. Musically magical and showcasing her lower range, it sends you drifting to an effortlessly soothing place. This said, the magic is not just being displayed in the lyricism or indeed it’s delivery. Instead, like the verse, gentle changes bring subtle growth to all areas of the track taking it firmly into the bracket of a timeless jazz-soul ballad.
Building further on the sense of subtlety that runs through the track, the second verse features the most welcome addition of heavily echoing harmonic vocals. Drawing us in further, their placement on the first three lines – but no more – serves more than one purpose. How easy it would be to carry the theme through – trust me I’ve heard this over done – but to not, demonstrates a true, if not rare understanding of when underplaying an idea makes perfect sense.
Like the entire track, this is just one of countless moments that provide showcase evidence of the success lying in the subtlety. However, if I had to highlight just a couple of others, the wonderful way that the organ and piano motifs dance around, and the way the melodic content doesn’t directly follow the harmonic progressions in the final verse would have to be right up there. There is no doubting that Freya has a something to say, and saying it so beautifully, you just simply listen.