Sølv – Black Ink EP

UK singer, songwriter, and producer Sølv’s choice to name herself after the Scandinavian word for silver seems appropriate, considering that her debut “Black Ink EP” shares a lot of the same qualities as the precious metal. Shiny but not gaudy, exquisite but not quite gold, this four-track project gives us an insight, not only into Sølv’s multi-faceted talent as an artist, but into her own emotional complexities as a person.

I’ll admit that, upon first listen, “Black Ink” sounded to me like another drop in the ocean of airy female vocals winding their way through dark, electronically influenced instrumentation. The production is undoubtedly lush and detailed, and Sølv’s voice is definitely nuanced and gorgeous on top of being airy, but it wasn’t until the chorus from “Losing My Mind“- the single that first caught our eye- was still coming out of my mouth an hour later that it became clear there is more to this EP than just atmosphere. Sølv’s penchant for a catchy hook is just as prominent as her tendency toward the occasional bout of sleepiness that some tracks on “Black Ink” seem to produce, which creates a balance that helps offset some of the project’s shortcomings.

With her debut “Black Ink EP”, Sølv manages to create a listening experience that’s almost akin to a shot of morphine: euphoric at times, but drowsy at others.

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The bittersweet sorrow of Sølv addressing a scorned lover makes for some extremely pretty and enjoyable music, but it also makes for somewhat of a one-note project. As the EP opens with its title-track, the effortlessly smooth vocal maneuvering and speaker-rattling chorus create a real excitement for the ride to come. And, while the next three songs each do something at least somewhat unique, there comes a point where the moody vibes start to feel bland, and the vocals begin to make your ears glaze over. Perhaps it’s the placement of “I’m Your Gun”, the unfortunately repetitive low light of the EP, right after the halfway mark that exacerbates the problem, by further sedating the mood when it needs a shot of adrenaline the most.

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However, I may simply be criticizing a sprinter for being unable to run a marathon. Because, despite the slight degree of difficulty that comes with listening to “Black Ink” from beginning to end, Sølv undoubtedly still comes through with three fantastic tracks on this project: “Black Ink”, “Losing My Mind”, and “Dark Romance”, with it’s subtle, underlying drive and beautiful use of something as simple as a few well placed “ooh’s”. At the end of the day, this newcomer has introduced herself with a project that is cohesive, creative, and well executed from the songwriting, to the performances, to the production. There’s no doubt that there will be more great music coming from Sølv, as her self-described sound of “ambient alternative pop with a dark edge” continues to develop.

Jonathan Vilardi

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