Jennifer Parkin, known widely under her musical moniker Ayria, has been a queen of the dark electro-pop scene since her debut release in 2003. Her latest album, Paper Dolls showcases her ability as a singer/songwriter to stay true to her musical roots while keeping the sound fresh and modern.
Musically, Paper Dolls features everything from stomp-worthy guilt-free pop songs to slower, introspective ballads with some sultry mid-tempo EBM in between. The first track, “Underneath the Water” wastes no time by immediately exploding into a hard, fast beat with a raucous, catchy synth riff that is perfect for the dance floor. In the same vein, “Feed Her to the Wolves” features very modern vocal effects that elicit the feel of a contemporary Katy Perry pop hit with an ‘80s synthpop musical backdrop.
While a good handful of the tunes on Paper Dolls get the blood pumping and feet stomping with their distorted, melodic synths and pounding beats, some of the slower, moodier tracks possess the heart and soul of the record. Even in her lower vocal range, Ayria’s tone is very crisp, clear, and nigh angelic, which contrasts beautifully with some of the shadowy lyrical themes she explores. The Switchblade Symphony-esque “Deconstruct Me” and “Barren” highlight this paradox through atmospheric layers of vocal harmonies and stripped-down symphonics.
Ayria shows maturity in her composition and arrangement skills, which allow each track to stand out as unique to the listener. The general authority and emotion that lurk behind the sweetness in her voice really bring power and flavor to her music, which sometimes songs in the electro genres lack. However, there is one moment on the song “Paper Dolls” where the vocals clash with the music and fall a bit thin and flat. Aside from that instance, Ayria’s solid, new record is sure to be a hit with her longtime fans and will likely attract new listeners due to her modern pop sensibilities and the high quality production value of the album.
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Storming the Base CD (Standard)
Storming the Base CD (Deluxe)
Storming the Base Vinyl
Sarah Heiber (SHeiber)