Shelita Burke has put together a wonderful, mystical set of rhythms and melodies on her latest EP, Transfixed. Right from the drop as it opens – this lady stole my heart with an absolutely inspiring performance through her vocals…jazzy in the sound…there’s a lot of style and grace here upon immediate first-impressions in listening to “Transfixed” as it begins. This title-track is completely smooth…beautiful in tone and its delicately-strummed guitar-melody compliments the vocals sweetly. Shelita’s started with a delicate rhythm but a very confident sound in her trembling voice – I was in love with the sound of “Transfixed” immediately. It was already incredible to think about the fact that this is her DEBUT recording…the first time out there and she immediately sparkles & shines.
But as much as I loved the song…there is absolutely stunning material directly to follow in “Pour.” I can cite incredible comparisons to well-known names like Feist, Cat Power, Mimicking Birds, Alt-J…Shelita fits right in with these stunning artists who all lead the way in creativity and combine elements of art & music. “Pour” is as bare-bones as a song could get and I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Most of Shelita’s album is blissfully simple in terms of just how much is added into the music and melody…
…in a way…isn’t it cheating? I mean…should you just be able to walk into the studio, high-five some engineers, set it to the PERFECTION-setting and just let Shelita do the rest? And by perfection setting – I basically mean RECORD…this lady needs zero special-effects, trickery or gimmickry to win you over – and she’s doing this on her own. Both “Pour” and “Gold” have the similar, wonderfully-unique qualities of her voice on beautiful display without over-complicating the background music to muddle anything up; they have their own personalities…”Pour” is much more towards the bright & sweet, whereas “Gold” is more pensive, darker and tense as it is hauntingly-gorgeous. Really inventive vocal-ideas and how they twist and turn through Shelita’s stunning range of octaves on “Gold” – I could listen to this lady sing all day, every day for the rest of my life quite comfortably.
Listening to “Swim” I began to shake my head… in straight disbelief that I haven’t somehow already heard of this incredible undiscovered talent – how is that even possible? The angelic-notes & tones and the control that Shelita has in her voice is absolutely, 100% stunning…and her song-writing is absolutely spot-on. I stand by the comparisons I made early on in the review right all the way to “Swim” – I think the creativity of Feist, the confidence/song-writing of Cat Power, the guitar melodies of Mimicking Birds and the way the vocals bend in Alt-J…I cannot express just what a wonderful combination of sound all these blended, amazing elements sound like to this set of ears…”Swim” is beautiful enough to bring around tears to your eyes.
If I did have to choose one or two more for comparison’s sake…”Else” would make me choose artists like Ani DiFranco and Florence Welch. Every artist or band Shelita has seemed to remind me has pretty much been in my top-ten of all-time at one-point or another on my own timeline…which leads me to believe that Shelita is indeed headed towards some truly incredible things. There is the start of something very special here…no doubt in my mind when I hear such a commitment to performance, tone and style all come together with as much sparkling rhythm and beauty…Shelita is STUNNING on “Else” and ALL the way through the Transfixed EP.
I like the piano-electro treatment that the title-track gets in its “WTRDPS Respace” remix at the EP’s end…I like how it almost takes it closer to Portishead or Zero 7’s early-work. Though to be truthful…I think it’s the middle-four songs on this EP that I found to be completely impressive…all for their amazing ability to captivate through simple music that explore fully-developed ideas of rhythm & melody. The title-tune is nothing to complain about in the slightest in either of its forms, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s an EP just set-up like a kick-ass sandwich; the real meat of it all is right square-in-the-middle where it should be. Absolutely killer, subtle & sweet – I couldn’t find a thing about this EP that didn’t take a huge hold of me; Shelita had me listening close the entire time with a golden set of songs on Transfixed.
Find out more about Shelita Burke from her official page at: http://shelitaburke.com/
JER@SBS – http://sleepingbagstudios.ca/