It’s no secret there’s a lot of media to consume. New singles, movies, TV shows, and more come out every day. With this huge flood of things to take in, it’s nice when something comes along that’s short while still being complete. I like movies that run 90 minutes, video games that only last eight to 10 hours, and TV shows that only have eight episodes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a longer effort, but I love a piece of art that quickly and enjoyably makes its statement. Clocking in at only three songs (and a remix) at about 10 minutes, Swedish singer TO. (Anna Melander) makes just such a statement with her debut EP, I AM.
There are a few aspects that carry through each of the songs. The first is that this is definitely a winter release. While it manifests itself in different forms, the entire EP is coated in an enveloping darkness, sounding like what might be played in an industrial basement party. Each song also features an extremely good backbone of percussion, with drumline-esque precision and energy. This is undoubtedly an EP to play over a good set of speakers, the electronic and percussive aspects eager to be shown off.
Opener and title track, “I AM,” is also the EP’s best song. Incorporating much from trance and electronica, it’s a defiantly strong and engaging experience. “Come find me, I’m not hiding,” Melander sings, and her voice is mixed as if it’s coming from inside the dense, sonic structure of the song. The ending of the song makes excellent use of fading away, leaving the listener a quick moment to ponder what they just heard before diving into the next track.
“Soul Sister” lives up to its name, with a catchy funk riff underlying the verses. The chorus delves back into a more synth-driven dance vibe, and the juxtaposition of the verse and chorus give the song a little extra punch. Of all the tracks, this is the one I wish was just a hair longer. The give and take is a great idea, and I would have loved to see how Melander could build on it over a four to five-minute song instead of a three-minute track.
“Down” comes in sounding like a dark world lullaby, with equal parts floating vocals and instrumental and low, brooding undertones. It’s less like a roller coaster and more like getting shot out into space and pulled back down repeatedly. The timing with which the music cascades with Melander’s piercing vocals is a neat touch, and one that gains effectiveness with each listen.
I AM is an EP with a mission. TO. is here to introduce you to her brand of pop that lives in the shadows, no more and no less. In this endeavor, it definitely succeeds. Take some time on your lunch break or workout to give I AM a try, but prepare to get sucked in and give these three songs much heavier rotation going forward.