Athens-based artist Irene Skylakaki shares her fourth album titled “Souvenir“, released through Greek Indie label United We Fly on 20 November; a well-timed gift for music lovers to enjoy and a graceful way to soundtrack the approach the end of the year.
Consisting of 11-tracks, and running for 33 minutes, this album offers self-reflection for listeners. Instrumental minimalism allows the vocals to bask in the spotlight, and serves to remind us of how versatile and powerful a voice can be: the extent of technology has permeated every possible aspect of society, to the extent that there songs and genres in existence that can seem very distant from what we may recognise as human.
Fortunately, Irene Skylakaki reminds us that all art is a form of expression fundamental to humanity. She achieves this by demonstrating the significance of vocals in music; her voice not only delivers melody but also lyrics. This minimalism gives her music a universality as, lest we forget, the oldest instruments throughout history are our own voices; chanting – whether tribal or religious – is spiritual and captivating. It is therefore refreshing to hear an artist being brave enough to compile an album primarily driven by vocals, resisting the urge to hide behind layers and layers of instruments, effects and production. For this, we wholeheartedly applaud Irene Skylakaki.
We particularly enjoyed ‘Mary Smiles‘, ‘Sutherland Avenue‘, and ‘Harrow Road‘. Heavenly vocals and ambient instrumentation create an especially tranquil atmosphere that could calm the most despairing of minds; the soothing effect of this is a joy to experience; one could go so far as to advocate that this album is a suitable antidote to the turbulence and instability of 2020, albeit in music form.