This week: 10 by Skela (Herø Records, 2019)
Why we’re into it: In 10 Skela incorporates the best of the soft rock, alternative, and pop genres to deliver a funky and introspective collection of, well, ten captivating tracks.
“Lacuna,” the lead single off her debut album embodies the delicate and musing tone of the entire collection; it’s raw, but leavened by the sheer danceability of Skela’s production. And while upbeat tracks like “Lacuna,” “Heartbreak & Liquor,” and “Holy” satisfy the need for something fun, slow tempo songs like “I’m Not Hungry” and “Sailboat” assert the work of a serious and more nuanced musician.
“Holy” invites you to find a special someone with whom you can lock eyes, hold close, and dance. Whereas “What’s Wrong With Me” is an early Avril Lavigne-esque track about blame and power that requires no outside affection. It’s these direct contrasts that allow Skela to fully explore emotions in the way that we experience them with all their messy contradictions.”Why Does It Feel Like It’s Gonna Hurt Forever” is a painful listen. The troubled vocals reverbing through the track are a reminder of how emotional pain can feel so endless. But then there’s the eerily hopeful “Blue Eye’d Girls Club.” As she points out, “My mother always said it’s better/To be alone.”
Draped in the hopeful tone is a message urging inward reflection, a theme that invites comparisons to the likes of Mitski and Phoebe Bridgers—two artists who exemplify the art of holding themselves accountable for screwing up, while also acknowledging an imperfect world that sometimes leads us into self-destructive tendencies (“Washing Machine Heart” and “Killer” respectively).
Put simply, 10 is a delight, with songs that capture all the moods and tensions when the seasons change. Mirroring the harmony of spring breaking through winter’s cold ground, Skela’s debut album expertly navigates the complexity of human emotion, translating it into multiple tones and genres. Skela’s depiction of the human experience, unruly and painful, but not without moments of joy, distills the essence of springtime emotions. Delicately balanced, 10 is testimony to Skela’s knack for creating music that leaves you feeling completely satisfied.