Review – “From the Series of Songs “Altogether Unaccompanied” Vol. I & II” – Helena Deland

reviewed by Laura Stanley

Helena Deland masterfully manipulates moods in the four songs of From the Series of Songs “Altogether Unaccompanied” Vol. I & II. It’s the subtle changes of these songs that reminds me of the quarters of the day – morning, afternoon, evening, and night – and makes me think that on her EP, Deland is tracking the movement of the sun.

We begin in a hot and humid afternoon, lying on the grass in the sun and thinking too much. “There Are a Thousand” is a mellow pop track that is smooth and dreamy, Deland’s “oos” are hypnotic, but this chillness is undercut by a harsh flickering guitar riff that comes and goes. In this track, Deland is worried about finding the one and this guitar mirrors this spike in anxiety; a worried gasp in an otherwise clear day.

“Perfect Weather for a Crime” is scuffed up as Deland balances impetuosity and uncertainty, it’s early evening, the humidity still lingers, and as it grows darker, the tendency to make reckless decisions becomes more appealing. There’s a nervous energy here that comes with this crime – hanging out with someone you really shouldn’t be hanging out with – and the way Deland draws out the line “I don’t know” is particularly impactful.

Nighttime has arrived by track three, the first song from Vol. II. “Take It All” is for when it’s so still out that you are seemingly the only conscious one and you feel utterly alone. “Take It All” is a very dense, synth-heavy track, that doesn’t sound like any of the other tracks. It’s distinctly mournful as Deland ponders her relationship status.

Ah, the sun is rising, do you see it? It’s late. Or maybe it’s early depending on what you’re schedule is like. The final track, “Body Language,” has an infectious groove that emulates the body movements that (involuntarily) happen when chatting with someone: the hunch of shoulders, the folding of arms, a confident slouch in a chair. Deland gets frustrated trying to translate these movements and instead just gets up and leaves. At least that’s what the confident delivery of this tune makes me think happened. It’s already another day.

Top Tracks: “There Are a Thousand”; “Body Language”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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