Σtella’s debut certainly has an essence coming straight from the 80’s but it doesn’t lack the freshness of a young woman living the 10’s.
1. Picking Words 2. The Map 3. Detox 4. Repeat 5. Wait On Me 6. Made To Attack 7. Wet Cigarette 8. Last Minute Boy 9. Something Real 10. Libya
Release Date: February 2015 Label: Inner Ear Records Tracks To Notice: Picking Words, Made To Attack, Wet Cigarette
Inner Ear is one of the most active record companies in Greece and its releases are pleasantly surprising more often than not. One of the most recent is Σtella‘s self titled debut. For those not familiar with the Greek or math alphabet, it’s simply pronounced as Stella, her name. She’s been active in Athens’ music scene the past half decade or so and she has participated in groups like Expert Medicine, with who she took stage for the first time, or Fever Kids, her duet with Aleksandros Zabaras, that released an album a few years ago.
A month after ‘Σtella‘s release her hype is still growing and her album and concerts are being heavily promoted, though not with a good reason. This kind of pop music hasn’t been the major trend over here, but it’s popular enough to have Jessie Ware play a couple of concerts in Greece and she’s the one that I thought of the most while I was repeating songs like ‘Picking Words‘ or ‘Made To Attack‘. It certainly has an essence coming straight from the 80’s but it doesn’t lack the freshness of a young woman living the 10’s. This combination is that makes her stand out but it’s also the reason for some to feel less inclined to characterise it as anything more than “plainly fine”.
One could mention the problem with practically every pop album the last several years. Track number one kicks in usually being the lead single, or simply the best song of the album, and then hardly anything reaches that level again. That definitely doesn’t happen here and though the album could indeed be described as “plainly fine” there are more than one songs that are much better than that. To the two mentioned above you can add ‘Repeat‘, ‘Wet Cigarette‘ and maybe even ‘The Map‘ that starts with a catchy riff on the bass just before keyboard comes to build up on that and take it a bit further. The former is one of the fastest songs in ‘Σtella‘, falling to a slow refrain that keeps it interesting. ‘Made To Attack‘ starts with a guitar riff instead and evolves to something that I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t become a massive pop hit; even for a few months.
This one here is one of the best Greek debuts in 2015 and releases like this are greatly missed and needed in the local music scene. Internationally, Greece barely exists in the global (pop) music map, but ‘Σtella‘ can look right in the eyes of projects like La Roux for example. It’s as personal and extrovert as it should and it’s been neatly produced by herself and Ntebint. If those aren’t enough to persuade you to give it a go, mark her name for the years to come. It’ll hopefully become popular western than GMT+2 soon enough.