Erika – ‘Onna’ [Review]

Erika Onna EP Review 2016 Bugeisha

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In music, women generally aren’t allowed to be kickass. They can be sex objects, sure, positioning themselves as submissive man-pleasers or manipulative man-eaters…but not much else. Any emotions they happen to show are usually interpreted as attempts at avoiding the dumb-bimbo label, or open invitations into the Black Widow’s web.

In reality, those emotions may be real – and the women themselves are obviously not objects but real people, with their own lives, thoughts, and feelings – but our culture rarely allows for that. It’s too complicated, definitely not catchy, and worst of all, it might make people actually think about things. In a lightspeed-paced culture where automatic responses are required just in order to keep up, deep thinking and depth in general are more often than not discouraged right off the bat.

Of course, there are exceptions to the no-being-kickass-allowed rule – and Erika happens to be one of them. Thank fuck for that. Onna – its title the Japanese word for “woman” – is the second EP in Erika’s ongoing Onna-Bugeisha trilogy, and it’s equally challenging and rewarding.

Erika’s music is perfectly paced – and opening song Warrior is a case in point. A call for inner strength that becomes bolder and stronger the longer it lasts, Warrior proves immersively emotional. An awesome way to kick Onna off.

Fly Away Bird marks Erika’s progression into unsettling arrangements. Instrumental fragments fit together awkwardly, conveying uncertainty and anxiety beneath cautionary lyrics delivered with complete confidence. Erika’s penchant for off-kilter composition continues on Kryptonite, calling in exotic strings and a classic soulful pop chorus alongside uncomfortably sparse percussion; Pop proves cathartic, venturing into the darkness and emerging with a gut-twisting story to tell; and the vinyl version of Onna ends with a glitch-ridden remix of Pop courtesy of Toby Kidd and Hatcham Social.

Overall: One word works, and you can probably guess what it is.



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Posted on 23 April 2016

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