[sic] Magazine

Akranes – Takeover Me EP

A year on from the top-drawer Shadows EP, producer Liam Gaunt here returns with Takeover Me – another knockout EP on which he’s swelled his contributing vocalists by one. Featured once more is the impressive Ooni Staerck, so too now the equally revelatory Sabira Jade, and Bryson even contributes keys as well. An embarrassment of riches consequently at his fingertips, Takeover Me is music for the hopelessly romantic, those perhaps no longer in a relationship but still entirely in love.

While the glitchy Shadows drew on hands-off dream-pop as much as it did vintage trip hop, Takeover Me starts even more minimally, the super-slow motion “Falling” delivering a palette of downbeat low-end and compressed percussive trills so full of space that Ooni’s vocal drift swoops in to fill the voids as if in a vacuum, a headlong rushing into dangerously deep and blackened waters. So slight that it leaves you wondering if you even heard it all, the ghostly title track is then brilliantly executed in its vapour trails. Relying just on the bare minimum of quality ingredients, Sabira rolls a deliciously delicate dose of neo-soul over barely there drones, percussive clicks echoing throughout like the dripping of a distant cave system. It’s a truly stunning performance in line with last year’s NAO and ABRA records.

Upping the ante, “Over (All Broken)” steps Gaunt out of the shadows, its insistent vocal loops matching a killer seesawing beat and downright pretty overlay, chopped and screwed FX rendering the vocal fashionably chipmunk-esque during the closing exchanges. Arguably then the most full-frontal of the nebulous mix, “Lost Inside” pits crisp beats against subtle flourishes of tropicalia, Ooni’s crystalline turn fronting a propulsive serving of soft-focus Balearica that would surprise no-one if were to have heralded from the Cascine catalogue. Just as it knows when to turn the screw, so too does Takeover Me know when to take the foot off the gas. Thus closing the listen like a forgotten comedown classic from the 90s, “Sleep Tonight” uses the honeyed performances of Sabira and Bryson’s keys to soundtrack the loneliest of the small hours to great effect – a sweet pay-off from a next-level recording that, like the love it pines for, lingers in the heart long after it finishes playing.

Best track: “Lost Inside”

~Takeover Me is released digitally and on cassette March 13th 2017 via Ramber Records.~

Pre-order now at Ramber Records