Sipprell’s Newest Release is a Soulful R&B EP with Some Indie Flavor

Sipprell’s Newest Release is a Soulful R&B EP with Some Indie Flavor

Bad History, the latest EP from Sipprell, is full rich R&B infused with indie and soul sounds anchored by Sipprell’s wonderful vocal performances.

Sipprell is an artist from London, making R&B that puts her skills at piano, violin, and guitar to great use. In addition, she uses her own voice as the primary instrument on some tracks, with layered, richly intertwining vocal performances. She’s released two EPs and many singles, and her new EP Bad History came out September 18th.

These six songs are built around Sipprell’s voice. She creates a foundation with keys and strings, and brings in some great bass work from Alex Bonfanti. The instrumentation is often chill and low key, but it’s a rich sound that compliments her voice. Sipprell often sings in a gentle, airy way but never weakly. There’s a strength in her vocals and when she cuts loose, they are especially vibrant. Each song is an aural tapestry with multiple layers of her voice, and it works wonders. It’s a groovy and fun record, but Sipprell doesn’t shy away from tackling serious stuff in her lyrics. It’s all you want in a six song EP.

The EP opens with “Bad History.” Strings slide in, gently bowing an intro, but they disappear suddenly as the low plucked guitar and keyboard appear. The song opens up slowly with Sipprell’s voice, snapping, and tapping percussion. The chorus brings the full song and groove. It remains low key, but it’s got an irresistible R&B feel. Sipprell’s voice is gentle, but she shows off skill with layers of scatting and harmony weaving together. The instruments remain a foundation for her voice to shine through. 

“Planes,” the next track, has a great chorus guitar sound. As Sipprell’s layered voice winds around, the song captures a carefree feeling. Some claps and other light percussion accompany the slinky guitar, and it’s got a fun, warm sound. The lyrics take on that very carefree feeling, but paint a more serious picture:

I wish I could be carefree

Learn to focus on the meaningless

Live a life that’s superficial

But that’s not enough

Sipprell takes that sentiment further, yet also twists it in on itself. She contrasts the desire for a deeper life with the lack of satisfaction that drives endless consumption and destruction:

I wonder why is it so hot today

It makes me blue

When I see the green fading away

what can we do

But keep on believing our lies

Will we ever realize

We ain’t never satisfied

Never enough, never enough for me

Amongst some laid back sounds and groove, Sipprell has snuck a serious message in a brilliant song.

Clapping and piano give way to fuzzy guitar and bass in the opening to “Nu Low.” The thick bass sound gives this song a heavier, almost thumping beat. Sipprell’s voice remains light, however, and some glittery sounds give this track a rich and varied feel. The choruses are big and echoey, with Sipprell showing off her vocal skills. The verses on the other hand are more direct, with Sipprell driving the lyrics out, matching her tone to the content: “You feel no fear/ You feel no shame/ You get your kicks inflicting pain.” The bridge later takes the open sound of the chorus and bursts it wide open, with space age sound effects and synth adding a lush background. Strings emerge from a false end to the track, for an emotional but wordless outro that never quite resolves. It retains the tension from the lyrics directed at a nameless but terrible person.

Fittingly, the next track “Raining men” opens with rain sound effects under the keyboard. Sipprell’s voice is joined by a beat track, while the strings stay a constant low background, save for some occasional plucking. The lyrics are marked by repetition, keeping the words simple and repeating them often. But the song finds its groove and multiple layers of Sipprell’s voice on all sides create a hypnotizing atmosphere that leaves you feeling lost but tranquil. This track especially shows Sipprell’s skill at using her voice as the main instrument, with strings and synth sounds supporting and highlighting her vocal skill.

“Like We Don’t Care,” the penultimate track, revels in tension. Most of the song is Sipprell’s voice high above and a great bass line creating a low foundation. The synth background adds some color, but the fact that many lines of the song begin with “Maybe” ensures that the song will be ruled by tension and ambiguity. On the choruses, Sipprell lowers her voice and enhances its airy quality into a whisper. It feels intimate as Sipprell sings “Why do we act like we don’t care?” That vocal quality is taken further in the outro as Sipprell repeats “We ain’t got forever, We ain’t got forever.” A droning synth underneath those lines enhances the foreboding feeling, finishing this song about the reluctant and confusing nature of relationships without a true resolution.

Sipprell turns up the sweetness in her voice on the final track “Mother Knows,” accompanied by a gentle sounding guitar. It feels akin to a lullaby. Big echoes and cascading layers of Sipprell’s voice create the sonic equivalent of floating through the fluffiest of clouds. It’s such a cozy sounding song about a mother’s love for her child. The whole track feels like a hug. Sipprell sneaks in some deep, touching lines amongst the layers of warmth, “I know I’ll never see the end of, the end of / The end of, the end of… / Your love.” Behind such lines, Sipprell’s voice shows plenty of variety, higher than other songs and always full of compassion. Sipprell’s talent for atmosphere shines the clearest on this track, and the final guitar strum is a lovely note to end on.

Sipprell’s EP Bad History mixes R&B groove with some indie and soul sounds, and delivers her lyrics with a vocal performance that’s always lovely whether carefree or accusatory. Those lyrics run the range–they can be fun and figurative, a serious call for consciousness, a denunciation, and a loving ode to a mother’s love. She’s found a unique sound anchored by a fantastic voice.

 

Top Photo by Matt Miller

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