added: 7 Nov 2012
// release date: 6 Nov 2012 // label:
reviewer: Daniel Davidson-Amadi
‘Pleroma’ – the debut album from New York based band, Vajra - seems largely emblematic of the well-travelled lead singer Annamaria Pinna who is not only a multi-instrumentalist but had spent a sustained period living in India. Because of this mixture of cultures, the album is best described as dark mysterious Western rock decorated with Eastern influences.
Expect loads of sitars, tablas and airy wind instruments of all varieties in this veritable smorgasbord of sound and emotion. Even many of the guitar riffs are repetitive like the reciting of an wordless mantra.
Pinna’s voice is rarely artificialised by voice enhancers or dynamics – producers only do that to the tone-deaf with nothing meaningful to say. In this case, her vocals are axiomatically synchronous with the style of music being produced. She’s never pretentious or over-the-top to the point that you fail to believe her lyrics; she’s extremely natural with her delivery and each tremble reveals her pain or aggression.
Progressive rock has rarely sounded so mesmerising as several songs begin with – or include – meditational synth leads that sum up the band’s interest in the divine and the spiritual. There is actually a two-minute long track called ‘India’ that contains no lyrics and little more than relaxing humming tone that soothes your mind before the very next track, ‘Blind’, blows away more of the pieces left.
The word ‘Pleroma’ is defined as a ‘spiritual dwelling and, fittingly, Vajra’s record transports you there and makes you feel as if you never want to return.
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