Review Summary: Princess One Point Five delivers a poignant slab of melancholy avant-pop that doesn’t disappoint
Kathy Nightingale: What did you come here for anyway?
Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale: What's good about sad?
Sally Sparrow: It's happy for deep people.
Blink, Dr Who Series 3
For the most part, modern pop music has forgotten sadness. There’s so much music telling us to dance, be happy and get drunk. For me, this music is just depressing. It’s not that I don’t enjoy those things, it’s just that the music is so predictable and the tone incredibly forced. There’s a beauty in sad music for me that can’t be matched in happiness, save by artists such as Jonsi. Maybe it’s knowing that someone else in the world feels like you do or simply the act of catharsis in listening.
For this reason, Princess One Point Five’s incredibly melancholy debut album is a favourite of mine. The band revolves mainly around the talented SJ Wentzki who sings and plays guitar, keyboard, piano, drums and various percussion instruments. The other main contribution is Richard Andrew on bass, who also has done a beautiful job of mixing. The main instruments used are the piano, keyboard, acoustic guitar and string section on top of the singing.
SJ’s vocals are the main strength of the album. Her delivery is mostly a lilting half-spoken, half crooned mix and it fits the tone of the album beautifully. The lyrics are an inventive and playful combination that avoid all the popular clichéd pitfalls and linger on in your mind. The interplay between all the instruments is also a highlight. No instrument dominates the others and they complement each other extremely well. There are just some soundscapes (It’s All Under Control
in particular) where you just have to sit back and bask in the beauty.
The album doesn’t feel like a pop album. There is enough experimentation to make it fresh but without feeling like the experimentation is solely for its own sake. It’s done without compromising the tone of the album, an error far more practiced musicians have made. Electra
is the best example of this. Starting off with a sample, a haunting piano line comes in. As it builds, a countermelody line begins and is replaced by an electronic wash, which then overwhelms the piano. As that dies down, the piano slowly creeps back into hearing, now broken and halting before electronic noises cover it again. It’s moments like these that make the album so memorable.
With Light There is hope
Are you Scared?
It’s All Under Control