Delightfully immersive ballads
Cult Classics Vol. 1: I Don’t Even Think of You That Often, a tribute to Leonard Cohen, is a chillingly delightful compilation of songs ranging in influence from folk and electronic music. With a variety of musical talent, each track allows its respective artist the chance to immerse listeners into an individual feeling and moment.
Emanuel Ayvas & Giselle take the stage on “The Smokey Life,” a track layered with sleek guitar strums and weary, crisp bass. The mood is that of spending the night at the local bar of a desolate town—communal, warm and cozy—before taking one last drink and grabbing your coat to set out into the autumn snow. Electronic bends come in, trickling as a soothing start to the album. Ellajay’s “Who by Fire” takes an ominous turn with crisp vocals and a creaking beat, reminiscent of the crackling of a warm fireplace. Electronic keys and a string solo give the track a mysterious, adventurous mood in the latter half.
“Take This Longing” feels like a holiday song, chiming with percussions that sound like snow bells. With ethereal background vocals and strings, Giselle channels attached feelings of isolation in lines such as “all the lonely things my hands have done,” as if her hands have been shrouded with the liability of loneliness, stained and unable to be washed away. The track carries a crisp liveliness to it, a ballad begging to be performed live on stage. Trickling guitar strums fire off on Jacob Jolliff’s “The Partisan,” mixed with country, rock and folk influences. The weight and speed of the strumming almost sound like a beat onto itself, each gentle pluck a hi-hat and each acoustic slap a kick drum. It’s rapid, almost manic. Gentle, echoing female vocals chime in, mixed with windy sound effects and pulsating, distorted bass, which gives the track the sentiment of trudging through a mountain trek.
“Famous Blue Raincoat” blissfully glides with strumming harps, trickling like gentle raindrops on the windowsill. There’s a fantasy-esque feel to the track, that of exploring the world of Kingdom Hearts, of finding a Castle in the Sky or the sentiment of a blooming flower in the snow. Jordan Popky’s vocals are gentle and lush yet packed with emotion and the pain of nostalgia. There’s a great use of immersion through storytelling, as Popky lays out exactly where and when the song takes place, the bittersweet reverie of a late winter’s night in New York City. Kiirstin Marilyn brings forth a fun serving of sass in “Everybody Knows,” which comes with a spiking beat and distorted vocals with ominous overtones, achieving a balance of delicate and raspy. An eight-bit reign of electronic synth lines and electric guitar strums slide into the mix as the track crescendos to a powerful closing.
“Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” channels a very Titanic-esque mood, with thick piano keys and a pulsating, hypnotic bass wavering about as Lana Cencic takes the mic in lush acapella. This ghostly sentiment carries onto “Treaty,” as Ann Marie Nacchio’s pitched vocals delicately waver through layers of reverb. A haunting series of vocables creep in, isolated as if calling out from an island. “I’m Your Man” channels a formidable combination of jazz-folk, mixed with echoing drums that sound revolving around an empty room, filled with Shay Moulder’s vibrato vocals—crisp, clean and permeating through the walls. The album closes with “Thanks for the Dance,” a nice implication of a thank you to listeners for listening along to this musical experience. Yify Zhang’s lavish vocals are filled with sentiment, overlaid with deeply reverberating strings that ring with completeness, lyrically attune to lines such as “I was so I, and you were so you.”
As a tribute for the late Leonard Cohen, Cult Classics Vol. 1: I Don’t Even Think of You That Often has a rich tracklist of ballads for listeners to enjoy; it’s a cohesively wrapped assortment of delights worthy of Cohen’s memory. Cohen passed away in 2016, but his musical influence prevails.