‘Take a trip down the rabbit hole and you’ll discover an abundance of characterful musicality.’
Intro to Eydis:
While Listen to Discover always aims to showcase music whatever the genre, it is rare to come across one that can be classed as left-field. In fact, the last feature that I would put within this category would be Miranda Arieh’s quirk-filled single ‘Impossible’ which was reviewed more than 2 years ago! However, then I came across Suffolk singer-songwriter Eydis. An artist that, with only one release to her name so far already fits securely within the bracket of avant-garde. Delivering the most wonderful debut, Wonderland really is the perfect introduction to how Eydis seamlessly blends the classical literature references, own experiences and imagination that lie at the centre of her tracks.
Instantly generating an atmosphere that feels magical and fairytale-esque, within seconds of Wonderland beginning we are left in no doubt about the journey we are to embark on. Captivating and image conjuring, the myriad of sporadic fragments that greet us make it seem like we’ve stepped into a woodland that’s bursting into life. Harp motifs bounce around like early-rising bunnies, delicate flute lines dance like fluttering birds and glints of glockenspiel twinkle like the morning sun. As scene setting musicality goes, it’s hard to think of how it could be any more suitable, and with the arrival of the Eydis’ voice, this opinion is only strengthened.
Delivering a vocal that truly enhances this setting, the initial phrase ‘Turning the pages of the book’ shamelessly signals just how much the lyricism is to be literature driven. Grabbing our attention to the same level as what has just been, the high pitched, yet warmth-tinged tone that Eydis possesses impacts immediately. Carefully controlled, while carrying a real sense of freedom, each inflection – whether it be melodic leaps, vocal slides or vibrato-infusions – ensures there is a continuous flow of appropriately characterful phrases. Equally, while the accompanying undergrowth initially scurries away, as we head toward the chorus, it begins to rush out and leave the burrows behind.
Working in a way that means everything matches so beautifully, both the lyrical content and the musical fragments that were previously in hiding burst into life. Coming at us from all sides, showcase moments appear energetically and in abundance. Initially you notice this on the wonderfully word-painted the repetitions of ‘down, down, down’ where they don’t do what you would expect. Sure the first one does, and the second, but while Eydis leaps in pitch on the third, in sustaining it a sense of falling is conjured up at the same time. It’s actually incredibly clever. Taking this further, in a chorus that’s crammed with lyrical Lewis Carrol references, moments such as when appropriately boingy pizzicato motifs echo the phrase of ‘rabbit hole again’ ensure that it’s crammed with instrumental interest too.
Having presented us with such a joyous sound in what has just been, following a transitionary return of the introductory fragments – which now appear even stronger than before – we find ourselves being encouraged to travel a slightly different path. Inferred more subtly within the opening verse, here, with the theme increasingly exploited Eydis guides us in a way that’s as irresistible as Alice’s level of curiosity about the garden she is being led to. In what really is a beautiful fusing of influences, it perfectly highlights just how seamless every element of the musical storytelling blends together.
Pushing this to the max, having passed through a chorus resurgence where you truly appreciate the countless characterful motifs, the track takes on a form that theatrically depicts Alice’s moment of disorientation. Such a key moment within the literature, you of course would expect it to feature. But how it features is a real wow moment. Rarely touching on multiple vocals to this point, as Eydis cries for help because she ‘can’t stop going down and round’ the initially sound harmonies surge to become increasingly dominant and clashing. Generating a reaction from the listener that is unlike anywhere else, it’s a risk that pays off superbly. Equally, with us now firmly down the rabbit hole we are are to receive a few last minute treats.
Casting aside both the bouncier fragments and those more dominating textures, a delicate, summon-like combination of rhythmical bass synth and marimba signals our arrival. Simple, yet incredibly effective, these deliver the perfect balance of sensations while guiding us into focus after our fall. And for that we can be incredibly grateful. Why? Well because having done so, we are able to fully experience an accompaniment infused with pocket watch ticks, lyricism centred on Playing Cards and the Queen of Hearts and a wonderfully set exclamation of ‘It’s too late for me I’ve already lost my head!’ before we tumble back down the rabbit hole one final time.