While a lot of artists talk about their eclectic influences, the debut EP from the young Edinburgh musician shows an impressive range and ambition, with each song almost sounding like it could be a different artist.
Drawing inspiration from the Major suits of the tarot deck, the four songs on this EP each reflect a contrasting aspect of AKELA as an artist. ‘magi’ is a strong, determined opener, with a beat-driven hip-hop influence and looped mandolin evocative of wild Balkan steppes. ‘omen’ is a softer take, led by the layered vocal harmonies of a boy band ballad, while the clubby synth pop of ‘fools’ talks of fresh starts and empowerment, with vocals from collaborator Chloe Roze. Closing track ‘collide’ is all optimistic, lyrical power pop, doomed love, and driving off into the horizon.
There’s a genuinely impressive range on this EP, and a depth of thought, ambition, and execution that make me very excited to see where they go next – judging by this, it really could be anywhere at all.
ARCANA is out now