feature: sye elaine spence summons melancholy with just a banjo and her incredible voice on her ‘bloom’ ep. #soundcheck

September 10, 2014

There’s a special sorcery at play when an artist can draw you in with just a voice and single accompaniment. Despite being quite literally the oldest trick in the book, it’s never not astounding. Most artists need entire racks of equipment (or at least full hard drives of VSTs) to create the atmosphere and depth singer-songwriter Sye Elaine Spence summons on her Bloom EP.

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

From the melancholy banjo that opens “Bloom,” Sye Elaine Spence summons the intimacy of the campfire. This is a song of regret, but more than that, there’s a tinge of hope beneath the shadows. She does the opposite on her cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Is This Love,” turning it from Marley’s ecstatic celebration of new love into a song of self-doubt and cautious optimism. The new tempo provides ample room for Sye Elaine Spence to showcase her stunning voice.

On “You,” she traces a mercurial banjo line along a forest path, before closing with the exuberant “Long Live The Summertime.” Featuring summer insects chirping just barely out of view, Sye Elaine Spence lists the simple joys of summer. “Dancing in the moonlight streets,” “sweet tea,” and “melted ice cream.” It’s the perfect song for late summer nights, with just enough hints of sorrow to remind us that fall is just around the corner. If you needed a reminder that there are technically 2 more weeks of summer, this is it. Enjoy it while it’s here.