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Album Review

Larissa Loyva's debut album as Kellarissa is an assured, challenging, and yet entertaining work, a surprising feat made easier to understand, of course, considering her work during the previous ten years for P:ano and the Choir Practice. It's a record of two halves, some tracks consisting of studio recordings and others recorded in Loyva's home (after all, "kellarissa" is Finnish for "in the basement"). The studio songs consist of primitive indie-electronic pop utilizing organ, drum machines, vocal loops, and synthesizers, while the home recordings are very sparse works with an atonal combination of Loyva's vocals (often doubled) and effects or percussion. The fact that this study in contrasts comes together as well as it does is a tribute to Loyva's talents for performance and arrangement. The album opens simply, with a piano figure and Loyva's crystalline vocals contemplating, with a cheery fatalism particular to Nordic regions, "I'll drink to you; I'll drink to health/But I know I'll drink to death." Also very Nordic is Loyva's interest in the stoic power of nature, a recurring theme throughout the album — "Night Wind" ("Oh, Glass breaks, glass shatters/The wind shakes the shutters"), "Sun Song" ("Sun strokes me"), and "Flamingo" ("I'm a bird on a wire/My wings are on fire" and "We are leaves in the breeze/As we swerve and careen"). Loyva had already proved the beauty of her voice with her P:ano recordings, but Flamingo is more engaging, more unified, and even more fun to listen to than her previous work.


Born: Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Kellarissa is Larissa Loyva, a whisper-quiet Vancouver singer and synthesizer experimentalist who first gained exposure in 1999 when she formed P:ano with Nick Krgovich. The duo, later expanded to a quartet, released three albums during the 2000s, during which time Loyva also contributed to numerous bands and projects around Vancouver, including the Choir Practice, Alunared, and FanShaw. P:ano eventually disbanded, and while Krgovich and the others formed No Kids, Loyva began recording by herself,...
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