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Elea Calvet - Sinuous Ways (Hyssop & Victoria)

29 February 2024

Let me draw a line connecting the modern alternative music scene with the Chanson singers of the Parisian, 60’s beatnik cafes. Another connecting pre-war dancehall ballads with the poetic proto-punk of Patti Smith. And yet one more that links the dark and delicious torch songs of Nina Simone with PJ Harvey’s eclectic and often angular world. Stare at the pattern of these scattered lines for a long time, and then shut your eyes. The stars dancing behind your eyelids in kaleidoscopic fashion is a visual map of “Sinuous Ways,” the new one from Elea Calvet.

And even with such reference points to guide you, there is still something that you can’t quite put your finger on with her latest release. Something that speaks of its beguiling timelessness, its underground nature, but underground in a way that is more akin to the clubs of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin experience rather than anything that such a term could conjure from today’s musical sounds and styles.

Although “Sinuous Ways” wanders on a lilting and lulling ebb and flow of piano and gentle washes of strings, something that could be the product of any time in the last two centuries, it is the shards of sound, moments of sonic jarring and salvoes of distorted guitar that occasionally shoot through the song which claim it as being of the here and now.

This is gorgeous music, soulful and seductive, a song that breezes through various eras and styles and borrows from all manner of genres and geographies to create something that belongs to none of them entirely. Words barely do the song justice, not mine, at least, so the best thing to do is play the song again and again and again until you fall in love with it. And, for the discerning music fan, that will not take long, I assure you.