Ioanna Gika
Thalassa


3.5
great

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (70 Reviews)
April 19th, 2019 | 20 replies


Release Date: 04/05/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A new age blessed by the ocean.

In the cold of the night, Ioanna Gika sits on a cliff facing the raging sea. As waves splash the Greek coast, the moonlight draws a bridge to the horizon. It's a time for mourning. The passing of her father has beckoned her home to Greece, to her mother's house. It's the place where she would tell the ocean about her loss and the birth bed where her first album, Thalassa, would be given life in return.

It's no surprise that Thalassa means "Sea" in Greek. Many artists go through a whole career before tracing back to their roots, drawn by age and exhaustion. In the case of Ioanna Gika, her roots are what have made her create this album as a starting point for something new, but equally frightening and confusing. The sea that bathes her parent's homeland has served as inspiration for this turning point in her life, not only lyrically but also for her music, as the profound and vast sound of Thalassa heartily portrays.

Formerly of dark pop duo IO Echo, the Greek-American artist has shared the bill with an impressive list of artists. Trent Reznor chose them as the opening act for NIN following the release of Ministry of Love in 2013, the project's one and only full-length, which was followed only by a slow drip of singles some years after. You could say that Thalassa carries some of the sound of IO Echo. Her powerful singing mostly, which resonates with even more majesty on this, her first solo work. In contrast with the subdued, hazy and hardened style of IO Echo, Gika's voice becomes the driving force in Thalassa, while guitars and drums are replaced by unwavering synths and playful drumbeats reminiscent of Bjork's past collaborations with the likes of Matmos and Mark Bell.

The Icelandic diva may be one fair comparison to Ioanna Gika's material, although Gika prefers to immerse herself beyond the realms of electro-pop and into the unfathomable depths of new age in cuts like title track "Thalassa", or in the spacey ballad and single "Swan". There is a dark, pensive tone that reigns over the album. I wouldn't talk about grief as much as I would of catharsis. This is a hereafter for the artist, as she reflects in "Messenger", where the harsh reality after her father's passing surfaces in the earthliest of ways: "No more pension for mother, Or my stepdad". Ioanna comes and goes from reality to her own safe place like the tide. "Out of Focus" and closer "Drifting" will remind you of that time when Chelsea Wolfe faced the abyss, her ghostly voice entangled in a myriad of synths echoing in the solacing dark.

There are other times where Thalassa becomes something more familiar, less fascinating or enthralling. "Weathervane" and "New Geometry", placed in the middle, bring the album to a place where Gika's songwriting feels more defined and less spectacular, as opposed to the indisputable highlight of the album, the opening track "Roseate". It is in this song where her strengths as a songwriter shine. Gika manages to turn something that sounds like a Cranberries passage into a new wave anthem that explodes in some sort of new age ecstasy driven by a furious arrangement of drum pads and blasting samples. "No Matter What" comes a close second, with one of the best sing-along moments of the album, while "Ammonite" is probably the best example of what the artist can achieve as a producer.

Thalassa is an ambient pop wonder. An album that feels like floating in the vast darkness of the ocean on a starless night. It's a remarkable starting point for her, if that is what the artist intends but, even if it would just be an isolated moment in time and place where her sorrow needed a catalyst, Thalassa will remain as a special album for Ioanna Gika and for those connected to her through something as humanly bonding as her connection to the sea, and to her home.



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user ratings (27)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This took longer than I expected. Sargent House quickly becoming my favorite label, first Brutus, now this and Helms Alee coming soon.



Stream here: https://ioannagika.bandcamp.com/album/thalassa



Video for "Out of Focus" (directed by herself): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpwR5cnbvBw



Now, ladies and gentlemen, it's Friday, so if you would excuse me, I'm gonna drink myself to a stupor.

Digging: The Haxan Cloak - The Haxan Cloak

manosg
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2019


11832 Comments


Most probably won't check this one but cool read as always.

Drink a little for me as well, Dewi.

Digging: Biff Byford - School Of Hard Knocks

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2019


8643 Comments


Her voice is ethereal, good review and accurate rating Dewi.

Trivia: In ancient Greek, Thalassa was spelled Thalatta.

Digging: Nightfear (ESP) - Apocalypse

Papa Universe
April 19th 2019


22505 Comments


is it the warm summery sunbathung sea vibe or the breezy rocky autumnal sea vibe?

thaPOSsa

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks friends. Paps, it's the abyssal reverberation of a mermaid's swang song.

Divaman
April 19th 2019


4768 Comments


Looks interesting. Nice job.

Digging: Yuri Gagarin - The Outskirts of Reality

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Diva you may like some tracks off this. Her voice is incredible.

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


21537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Been meaning to check this, really nice review - obvs noticed this before, but you've got such a good knack for linking music to sensory description and imagery!

Digging: Jida - Lucid

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks my man

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


21537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Giving this a listen now, Out of Focus could have come right off Pain Is Beauty and I dig

Taxt
April 19th 2019


1380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to see this get a review, it definitely deserves more attention. Great voice.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Out of Focus sounds a lot like Wolfe, agree Johnny. I really recommend listening to Roseater. That track is godly.



And tx Bloon, taxt!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2019


8643 Comments


Some parts of the album reminded me of the LOTR, when the fellowship enters the forest of the queen of elves.

Pho3nix
April 30th 2019


777 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Interesting premise, but this one didn't really do it for me.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 20th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

She's going on tour with Chelsea Wolfe, don't miss it if you have the chance!

alamo
July 31st 2019


2477 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is gorgeous......



great review, i agree that weathervane-new geometry is the less interesting point here but everything else clicked with me =)

budgie
July 31st 2019


16916 Comments


someone should tell Thalassic to get in here

tcat84
November 19th 2019


1291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album isn't groundbreaking but I enjoy it very much. A nice gem I found this year.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2019


18076 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I think I might bump the rating. Really love the opening track.

botb
November 27th 2019


13623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got recced this by a friend and holy shit I love this



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