Review Summary: Alexa Borden delivers soothing, dreamy pop that benefits from a fuller sound and improved songwriting.
Alexa Borden is one of those rare musicians that almost seem to have been born with the ability to create music. At an early age she taught herself to play multiple instruments and by fifteen she had already released her debut album. That album, Speck in the Universe
, displayed an artist that was clearly evolved beyond her years, but that still had room to grow. It was a soothing, dreamy pop album that was carried by warm melodies and Alexa’s angelic voice, but that also suffered from a subtle lack of dynamics and variation. Fortunately, Alexa Borden has refined almost every aspect of her craft and has also rectified the minor issues that plagued her debut; the result is her sophomore album Flares
Like her debut, Flares
is entirely a DIY effort – written and recorded exclusively by Alexa Borden in her own home studio. Sonically, it also shares a very similar sound with Speck in the Universe
. The music is still very soothing – built on piano melodies and Alexa’s angelic voice – but it also won’t eventually lull you to sleep. Alexa has managed this change in a few ways; most notably through the use of electronics. The integration of electronics is often subtle, but it’s enough to provide substantial support to the piano melodies that comprise the main musical motifs. The electronics have also provided her with a wider array of percussive options and together with the synth have almost transformed her music from dreamy pop to actual dream pop – almost. The other major factor that allows this album to remain interesting despite its mellow nature is the songwriting itself. Alexa’s vocal melodies have come a long way, and the choruses have become much more infectious and memorable.
Nobody in his right mind would have expected a fifteen year old to be able to release the debut album that Alexa Borden did, and most would be equally surprised to see how much farther she has come in just a few short years. While Speck in the Universe
exhibited an artist trying to find her niche while stumbling along the way, Flares
is the realization of all that raw potential – an artist that has just about hit the ground running. Flares
carries forward every positive aspect of its predecessor while delivering those elements in a fuller, more developed package, allowing Alexa Borden’s voice to effectively get into your head and stay there.