“A compilation of songs about independence, self-love, anxiety and loss.”
This is how Olivia Gavranich, better known as St. South, describes her debut EP Nervous Energy. Standing at only five tracks long, Nervous Energy often feels much longer – this record, and St. South, are larger than life.
You’ll never hear a more polite ‘fuck’ than from the lips of St. South. Take a masterclass in being badass while sounding gorgeous with Nervous Energy.
Muted electronic production complements the addition of synth, percussion, and horns, allowing her work to span a variety of genres with gracious ease. Hints of folk, blues, jazz, and tribal music simmer below the cover of this calming and melancholy EP.
Although all stand out tracks, of particular note are Lover and Why Wait.
Why Wait features some really interesting percussion, giving the track a primal and shamanistic feel. It becomes easy to lose yourself in the moment, immerse yourself the hypnotic beat. Although the percussive elements of the song are not quite as primal as SBTRKT, they manage to add a natural and gentle sound to the electro-pop product.
Lover is slightly faster paced than Why Wait, hand in hand with the song’s empowering and startling lyrics. With her vulnerable and entrancing voice it sounds remarkably unnatural when she drops the words “fuck” and “bitch” so casually, however she manages to pull it off with the perfect amount of emphasis. It feels genuine as opposed to self-gratifying.
Gavranich has a beautiful voice – she sounds like a combination of Kimbra and Gossling with her soft, sweet, and husky warble. She is in turn vulnerable, defiant, sad, content, and mournful without ever raising her voice above a breathy sigh.
However, the stand out aspect of Nervous Energy is clearly its production. Expertly constructed and interwoven with minimalist, steady rhythm, St. South’s ear is a finely tuned instrument to piece something so seemingly simple (yet surprisingly complex) together.
Such nuanced and tasteful production is a delightful rarity, and St. South charms her way through this amazing release. Being a latecomer to the class of 2016 won’t hinder Nervous Energy – it’ll be making plenty of ‘best-of’ lists yet.