Washington native singer/songwriter Briana Marela is known for her abstract yet intimate sound, thus making everything she releases a delight in many ways. Although she has gone from job to job to fund tours and previous releases, for her new album she started a Kickstarter campaign and crowd funded her goal of recording the release in Iceland; to have a following that could help her achieve this is incredible, and from what we’ve heard All Around Us doesn’t easily disappoint. Produced by Alex Somers (Sigur Ros), there’s bound to be something special about the album’s sound.
The first impression of All Around Us is somewhat obscure, the curious use of vocals that kick off Follow It is intriguing and makes for an interesting backdrop; you can already tell that we’re in for something a little left of centre, not necessarily in a bad way. As the album progresses you will recognise Marela’s appreciation of the clarity and effectiveness of her singing voice, as luscious and smooth as her work is, evident in tracks like I Don’t Belong To You and Everything Is New. Lead single Surrender is very atmospheric, and although there is a lot going on in the track, it doesn’t distract you from the overall delivery. Final track Further is seven minutes of atmosphere and vocal heaven, seeing the record out on a few fresh and airy notes.
Briana Marela has this ambience about her, and All Around Us really shows us her talent and her attention to detail; particularly when it comes to using her vocals. The sound of the album is a combination of warm, crisp, fresh and atmospheric, a dull moment was barely experienced. There are times you may think that the pace could be lifted, but you get into the mindset that it would go against what Marela was trying to achieve with this album; it’s not supposed to be catchy, poppy or mainstream in any way, it was created to express raw emotion through vocal walls and dreamy arrangements.