Review: Sharliza Jelita – Strange Things
Published on July 9th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Former The Rrrs front lady Sharliza Jelita releases a debut album comprised roughly of one part the kind of sugar-coated power-pop that she mastered with her erstwhile bandmates, and one part the kind of electronic detouring that bodes very well indeed for whatever this eccentric Singaporean songstress chooses to do next.
Things get underway with the richly melodic and delightfully playful “No Go Pogo”, Sharliza’s distinctive helium voice as consummate of showmanship on record as it is in a live setting, all the while making room for daft animal impressions/mating calls so as to keep the mood suitably light for the introduction of “Is That Your Underwear on the Floor?”, the clapping digital beat of which goes on to break inventively into double-time amidst some satisfying whuh ow! whuh ow!-ing and squiggly synthery. Furthermore – and we couldn’t tell you why – it’s nice to have the word ‘chafing’ in a pop song
The Motown-y “I Want More Sun” (amen to that!) treats us to luxuriously parping brass before “Breaks My Heart in Two” weds music box twinkles and synth glowworms to a classic soul feel, a funky bass line in its step and sweet, love-song sentiments at its lyrical core.
“Volcano Sparks” is magnificent spy movie fodder, luxurious psych-soul reborn as power-pop, while the driving, angular, commanding indie-disco of “Credit Crunch” wields a far superior melodic sensibility than the phrase ‘indie-disco’ usually entails; in fact it’s very good, as is the suitably jittery digi-funk workout of “Claustrophobia”, whose sleek nocturnal feel and “I wanna leave right now” would make it a fine choice of single.
After the whirring, retro electro (elerectro?) of “Fine On Your Own”, “What It Feels Like for a Child” sees Sharliza open up with a ruminative, confessional synth pad soundscape; “I don’t know what it feels like for a child / Because I was never one” she informs us, hinting at a melancholic side that could mix things up quite nicely on any follow-up LP.
Last but by no means least – in fact, it’s the pick of the bunch – the title track is quite startling in its deviation. Its lush, spectral, psychedelic, electronic sophistication works casts a hypnotic spell when backed with the full, popping ‘n’ fizzing rhythm section, so much so that it could conceivably have been one of those unlikely ’90s hits like Space‘s “Female of the Species”, White Town’s “Your Woman” or Edwyn Collins’s “A Girl Like You”.
It’s a shame we don’t really get those any more, because “Strange Things” could be a goldmine for this burgeoning talent. In the meantime, this is a splendid start whether the world takes notice or not.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Strange Things is out now on Headtones. For more information, please visit www.sharliza.com