ERICA GLYN
ERICA GLYN

★★★★★

If you are reading this review, one of your first thoughts may be: “Who is Erica Glyn?” Well, you’ve come to the right place. Glyn is a veteran of the music industry who has only just begun to get recognition for her self-produced work as a singer and songwriter.

In the music industry, some artists are forced to self-produce because they are realistically unworthy of a contract or record deal. However, this is not the case for Erica Glyn. Her album, “Dollars for Thieves,” is an inspiring venture into new realms of creativity that safer mainstream music has yet to attempt. Her sound is distinctly Brooklyn, and the tracks’ kooky “trip-hop meets rocktronica” genre is about the most accurate description I could imagine for the album’s sound. But what does trip-hop and rocktronica actually sound like?

Glyn’s style, though varied from track to track, has several touchstone characteristics that define her music. In almost all of her songs, her angsty, callous vocals narrate a sort of esoteric poetry. It’s almost as if Lana Del Rey became a Greek bard. But these involved narratives and emphasis on lyrics very much tie into the album’s designation, trip-hop. The combination of ethereal rhythms and creative language creates an experience of drowsy, yet soothing, intoxication. All at once the listener is slowed down and mellowed by the beat while becoming extremely focused on the minutia of each word.

In this way Glyn’s songs create a listener experience that is tailored to a very specific kind of mood. It is almost as if these songs were created for the languid hours that follow a drunken night out. “Dollars for Thieves” is a soundtrack for the pensive reflection that occurs after finally slipping our exhausted selves into our own beds. The fact that Glyn’s songs can maintain this sort of contemplative nature despite variations in tempo and theme attests to her talent as a self-producing musician.

While the vocals and lyrics remain the common characteristics    in each of the “Dollars for Thieves” tracks, there is an impressive amount of variation in each of her songs. In fact, in terms of musical range, this album could be placed nearer to Taylor Swift’s “1989” rather than among much more thematically similar contemporaries like “I Forget Where We Were” by Ben Howard.

Glyn’s song “Killing Moon” marries a slowed back track with trademark Lana Del Rey-esque lyrics and ties the two together with a post-punk-styled vocal reverb.

This sort of melancholic emotionalism is juxtaposed by the upbeat nature of “Et All,” a play on the term “at all.” The song is swift and choppy. The angsty voice and lyrics remain a constant, but the electric guitar is much more pronounced. I imagine this track is where the designation “rocktronica” originated. There are strong nods to the hey days of punk rock, from quick, heavy drunks to guitar strings literally being shredded. Yet, even through this wide musical range, Glyn still manages to maintain her trademark voice and furnish the complex, in-depth lyrical messages that make her music worthwhile.
Glyn’s music is definitely not the kind to make its way into the jam-packed parties and clubs around Georgetown. However, these songs are great for that all-too-familiar angsty reflection of your college years — the type of reflection that leaves you thinking, “Who am I? What am I doing with my life?” In these situations Glyn’s solemn melodies really fit perfectly.

“Dollars for Thieves” has a song to fit every kind of introspective moment. “All Just for You” leaves you feeling confident and courageous. It’s Glyn’s intriguing style that makes this track successful as the ostensibly aggressive lyrics such as, “I want to own you,” are paired with a backdrop of calm, psychedelic rock.

On the other hand, “The Killing Moon”creates a more introverted and poetic ambience. This particular song is Glyn’s cover of the Echo and the Bunnymen song of the same name. In terms of understanding the aura that this song, along with most of the EP, creates, it is important to note that the original song grew in popularity after it was displayed in the opening scene of the film “Donnie Darko,” another story of self-discovery and introspection. The song’s lyrics are also a clear exploration of human nature with statements that cannot help but instigate reflection; for example, she sings: “Fate / Up against your will.” Glyn’s version of the song is a very slow ballad with a clear focus on the vocals, giving listeners time to reflect.

Erica Glyn’s EP, “Dollars for Thieves,” is more than a worthy investment for those who wish to discover new music, but it is also a set of songs that establish a quality setting for personal reflection. This opportunity for introspection that Glyn provides is what makes this album so valuable.

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