POP & ROCK SHORT TAKES – REVIEW
by John Gaddis
Estella Dawn, Spooky (Purplestar Records, 2020)
At twenty-three years old vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Estella Dawn has been quickly garnering fans with smartly crafted lyrics and melodies layered with vocal parts. Dawn released her debut EP Dancing Girls in 2018. In 2020, Dawn she has been steadily releasing a single every six weeks. Ranging from Neo-soul to anthemic rock each single has its own unique personality. Here seventh single “Spooky” is seductive and sensual pop. Dawn harvests a variety of rhythmic feels and employs a strong harmonic sensibility. What I enjoyed most is you can clearly hear Dawn’s vocal chops, but she never oversells it. Her talents rather embellish and compliment the melody making this a sweet sensational popified listen.
Grace Davies, Friends With The Tragic (Simco Limited, 2020)
Pop, R&B, and Soul singer, pianist, and songwriter, Grace Davies, wow that was a mouthful, garnered notoriety after her appearance on The X Factor. The rest is a frenzied fan love story. Davies has written over 200 songs which has put her music in the ears of many fans racking up millions of streams, including tastemakers’ playlists. After all this breaking ground she is now releasing her EP Friends With The Tragic. Davies’ trademark is grounded in her swirling electronics and luxurious vocal quality. Her melodies are more than poppy ditties, they offer depth and aphoristic impact. Her honest and relatable style translates to a worthy listen. At only twenty-three years old. Davies has a promising future.
Emily Merrell, Masks (1702285 Records DK2, 2020)
A jazzer gone pop, aren’t those the best kind. Merrell graduated with a Master of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of North Texas, now resided in Lehi, UT. Her full-length album Masks is a mixed media experience that took 35 professional artists and two years to create. Merrell created a specific mask theme for every song on the album. Airing on the side of epic and cinematic Merrell fuses the foundation of pop, with here jazz slip ever showing throughout the album. Her diversity of influences adds up to a stunning listen, coupled with the mixed media experience this is a must experience. Masks is a full throttle listen and an embodied experience. I hope to hear from Emily Merrell for many years to come, her emboldened uniqueness crisp and unconventional.