Any brand-new label would be excited by their first release. Newbies Inherent Sounds have every right to be proud to kick off their roster with Sadness Is A Gesture from APHRA, the electropop alter-ego of Philadelphia’s Rebecca Waychunas. With unexpected depth to her music, Rebecca explains “Most people would listen to my songs and assume it’s about boy meets girl, boy breaks girl’s heart, girl cries. But these songs are actually about my family and the crippling confusion and heartbreak addiction causes.”
Before you read on, APHRA is giving a FREE download of “Honey”, from the EP, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
The introduction to opening track “Honey” drips with sweetness, capturing attention and drawing listeners in. Showcasing Rebecca’s soulful side, there’s a delicious melancholy woven into her tones, lifted by continuous electropercussion and mesmerising harmonies.
From the orientally-infused opening notes of “Geranimo” Rebecca sets out her stall as something different. Rhythmic and engaging, there are occasional moments reminiscent of Kate Bush’s early work. Following on, “Would You” settles a country vibe onto stripped back guitar. Once again, idiosyncratic vocal arrangements keep the track far from derivative.
Returning to experimental mode, “Oh Peter” – breathy and ethereal – fizzes like old vinyl, before moving into the unmistakeable pop influence of “Rooms”, Track six, “Happy”, isn’t. With a melody contained within raging arrangements and vocals that sweep from understated to extreme, this song cries out to the impossibility of changing another person.
Closing the album, the heart-wrenching title track “Sadness Is A Gesture” completes a collection melded together by Rebecca’s emotionally-driven vocals, each offering insight into familiar feelings of insecurity or self-questioning. This is not an easy collection to hear, but a fascinating album to listen to.
Although Rebecca Waychanus is the creative force behind APHRA, she credits Eric Bogacz who co-produced “Rooms” and “Oh Peter” and programmed percussion for “Oh Peter”, and Jack Zafares for guitar on “Oh Peter”.
Rebecca’s advice for anyone just starting out with their music emphasises the need to commit:
“Here’s a quote I kinda live by. It’s from an article written about Franscesca Woodman, the quote is from her father and it really stuck with me:
‘You should go to your studio every day, and if inspiration doesn’t arrive, “sharpen pencils” until it does’
It’s about committing to art practice in general, and I definitely do my best to live by it. You’ve gotta put the hours in if you want to be successful at anything. Another quote I remember reading (from Regina Spektor) was something like “things will start happening when you’re ready, if nothing’s happening then you’re not ready, so get more ready” lol
So like yeah, firstly and foremostly put the hours in to get good at your craft, whatever it is, producing, songwriting, performing, just get as good as you can at it and don’t stop working to get better.”
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