Olya – Carefully


We take a look at Carefully today, by Moscow-born-currently in NYC-Olya.  From big stages in Moscow to the Bowery Electric in Manhattan’s East Village, Olya has been navigating her way and making a name for herself in this constant-evolving musical landscape.  This is her debut EP.

There are two things that immediately jumped out at me when I first started playing this.  First, it starts off smooth as hell with this jazzy lounge song called “Independ-a-nt”.  It definitely falls into some world-music genre with its Latin and Middle Eastern flare.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Second, Olya comes in with a fairly strong Russian accent.  This totally threw me off.  I was expecting it to annoy me after awhile, but it never did.  It’s sexy.  It also doesn’t hurt that she has a nice voice.  About two minutes into the song, there’s a brief Santana-like guitar solo.  Very nice touch.  Strong start for the record.

My favorite track on here is “Tsaritsa”.  A ballad sung in her native language, I can’t comment on the lyrics, but it sounds beautiful and leaves me wanting more.  “LetItGo” is plain funky, in the vein of The Brand New Heavies (remember them?).  It has a nice steady rhythm bordering on the sound of Guru’s Jazzmatazz records.

The EP’s title track, “Carefully”, is the second ballad.  Mainly voice and guitar until the drums kick in about a minute and a half into it.  The most interesting part of the song comes thirty seconds after this, when Olya does her own call-and-response-style harmony.

Overall, Carefully is a decent EP.  I didn’t think “WhatYouDo” and “Links” were as strong as the others on here.  And since there are only a total of six tracks, that of course matters.  But we have a showcase of a young talented singer.  One with a crap-load of style.  One who’s worth checking out.  One who definitely has the chops to make some good music.  Russian or American, for that matter.

~ by carlitoreviews on December 28, 2011.

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