Release Date: Feb 22, 2019
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Sometimes too much backstory is distracting. It's easy to get lost in the maze of Tia Cabral's inspirations and touchstones for Mazy Fly, her new album as SPELLLING, but it's just as easy--and far more transporting--to simply get lost in the music. That's not to say her inspirations don't matter: from a lightness of spirit Cabral felt while watching her dog run around to meditations on the effects of technology, the wonder of flight and the horrors of Middle Passage slave ships, Mazy Fly is densely packed with ideas and images.
“Hard to Please (Reprise),” like so much of Mazy Fly, threads together a host of disparate influences into a single glossy sound. There’s the kitschy otherworldliness of kosmische, the earnest murkiness of lo-fi, and the tantalizing dreaminess of alternative R&B. While some artists boast their eclectic tastes by cheaply parading individual styles and genres in a slapdash, sometimes rote, song-by-song manner, Cabral searches for deeper connections among her myriad influences.
Crunches of alien tape loop spiral around on the opening to Mazy Fly, the latest record by Bay Area native Tia Cabral aka SPELLLING. These soon merge into the bewitching 'Haunted Water', which fills you with trepidation. The tense, twitchy beats build to a culmination of bleakness as Cabral's layered whispering becomes evermore ghostly. These experimental textures read like a deconstruction of modern music, and welcome you to her world.
There's a song SPELLLING's debut, 2017's Pantheon of Me, where the vocalist and musician Tia Cabral moans over a high-pitched, murderous guitar refrain, one that sounds like tiny gremlins fiending for blood: "I'm not going back to him. " She repeats herself, slightly changing the plea, as layers of ghostly vocals spill over each other. "I'm not going back to the grave.
Californian's Bay Area has always been a melting point of cultures and a hotbed for forward-thinking, politically progressive musicians, but the two were kept relatively stratified among racial lines up until the beginning of this decade. Today it's women of colour that are at the forefront of the area's experimental noise scene, with Spellling at the helm ever since the release of her debut, Pantheon Of Me. Mazy Fly is the latest snapshot of her evolving musical narrative and her first record released on Sacred Bones.