As a journalist you are surprised occasionally, being introduced to new artists and act all the time. The fun part of the job and most certainly the toughest as well. To capture in words your vision and journey while going through records which are just outside of the ordinary, is always a challenge.
With an album like Antonia Vai's debut, I have started to write at least a dozen times, before deciding to just spit out the words as they come. Thus it reads: "Don't let the Bedbugs Bite" kicks off this sublime release, Vai twitches and teases with her impressive voice on this psychopathic easy listening. A bit of the unexplainable psychic fun Amy Winehouse added to her songs. Fingers snapping, ad lips, over the top pitches like in the taunting "Macho Woman" which empowers the lyrics perfectly.
Down to earth easy listening can be found in recognizable sticky songs like "Confessions of Berlin," stripped back to the essence with acoustic guitars and a little percussion. Or the following piano ballad "Moth to the Flame," with a timid undertone and dramatized overhaul, a bit like the immaculate "Storms" featured later on the album. It's very expressive and powerful, yet fragile. Drop dead gorgeous are the warm "Rainy June," "Snow White" or the wonderful "Time Killer" and the fragile 1:14 running "The Smallest Song in the World." Mad it gets again in the slide guitar and sitar propelled slow mover "Russian Roulette." It warps you back into the smoky rooms of the early 70's...
Vai always surprises with her emotional outburst and expressive vocal gymnastics. While the music drags slowly forward, Antonia manages to add a little punk spunk to music which I would have never imagined to be so sexy.
By all means, check out the magnificent "Waiting for War," a captivating bluesy jazz stomper with a farm fiddling guitar punch.
"Down the Rabbit Hole" again is very stylish, blinking an eye towards Alice in Wonderland, but being a keen view on life and the way the world runs. Another focal point of the creativity of Vai is her meaningful lyrics which are spawned across as little fragments of thoughts and whispers of the mind.
Count to that the intimate production and gorgeous artwork, and you have an album worth spending your money on.
Antonia Vai surprises with captivating mellow easy listening songs as well as taunting and psychic over the top outbursts of emotion. Vai has an impressive voice, characteristic vocal work such as Winehouse, but always with timid and fragile undertone much in the vein of Katie Melua, and even Norah Jones. Perhaps you can compare her to Bjork, but in a completely opposite musical direction.
Antonia Vai's release Lovers and Prophets is a very nice melodic journey which lingers along in the head for a long time.
Review by Edwin von Hoof - 2012