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Elizabeth Anka Vajagic
Stand With The Stillness Of This Day

Born from the Godspeedian scene that has come to musically define Montréal, Elizabeth Anka Vajagic is a songsmith tapping a similar vein to the likes of Shannon Wright and Thalia Zedek, authoring dark, staggering, emphatic, emotionally-roused tunes that make like mantra-ish takes on modern blues. And Vajagic has the modern blues bad; her lurching laments are despondent depictions of the urban condition, drunken waltzes staggering through the disused amusement parks, rundown industrial zones, and abandoned trainyards that litter the geography of the whole GY!BE/ASMZ world. Many members of the sprawling Constellation famille are here to help Vajagic render such sombre cityscapes, the songwriter painting her portraits of post-industrial landscapes in wholly gothic shades, her modern blues bleeding from such bluey hues into smoggy greys and desolate blacks. This bleakness is a palette known well by Godspeeders Efrim and Beckie, who're on hand to give "And the Sky Lay Still" that epic GY!BE touch, arcing fast-strumming delay-draped guitars up high into the night sky as the song escalates from whisper-quiet to fireworks of fortissimo. Along with Sam Shalabi, the Godspeed! pair are the most notable folk on the rundown of guests, but, whilst such known names amongst the various helping-hands are nice, the humans behind the added dangling guitars and scraping strings may as well remain anon, for this disc is defined by Vajagic's aesthetic, persona, and voice. Her deep, doleful, gloomy vocals are a key part in the album's mournful audio milieu, and, whilst Shannon Wright and Thalia Zedek are the right contemporary comparatives for her, it's clear that Vajagic's singing comes under the influence of Patti Smith, the young songsmith pulling deep sentiments from deep in her guts, such coming out in guttural wails and throaty caterwauls that reverberate throughout her barren musical environs.

by Anthony Carew

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