Sylvee traverses dark-pop and piano balladry on sophomore EP ‘Downpour’

Across six tracks, Sylvee’s new EP Downpour spans dark-pop anthems to tender piano ballads, with ample room for social commentary and more intimate vignettes. 

Sylvee has today (April 28) released her latest EP Downpour, a six-track collection of playful melodies, gritty vocals and pop rock attitude.

Spanning poignant ballads to dark-pop power anthems, the New Zealand singer-songwriter’s sophomore effort reads as a manifesto of both her intimate thoughts on love and loss (and everything in between), and the steadfast progression of her career following the breakout success of the 2019 debut Life on Mars.

Sylvee EP 'Downpour'

Sylvee kicks off proceedings with Downpour opener Time For The Girls, which combines eclectic production flairs from distorted synths to off-kilter background clicks. Time For The Girls later introduces Sylvee’s mesmerising backing harmonies, and a drum sequence that transitions the track into rock territory.

Throughout it all, Sylvee’s vocals remain the major drawcard, with an infectious growl that enforces the lyrics around women finally taking centre stage. 

There’s an added depth to Sylvee’s vocal range on second track and EP single Slow, a fittingly unhurried ballad that reflects on the fear of diving too quickly into love.

Atop subtle tambourines and brooding piano keys, Sylvee assures her partner that “it’s okay to go slow,” a message that reaches its climax by the track’s ascendent final chorus. Slow speaks to “​​the importance of talking tough things through with safe people,” Sylvee said in a press statement. “Knowing we don’t have to take on every challenge alone.” 

Sylvee’s lyrical prowess continues on third track Honey, a smitten ditty that translates the warm hues of a newfound crush into song. In between declarations of being “ride or die” and “by my side,” Sylvee grooves to electric guitar riffs and summery fuzz-rock flairs.

The sunlit bliss of Honey reaches all-out flames on lead single Retrograde World, a fiery electro-pop cut that takes aim at the twistedness of our backward society. 

Sylvee EP 'Downpour'

More impassioned than ever, Sylvee’s vocals are assisted by fellow kiwi artist Lucid Hiest, who provides a quick-cadence take on information overloads and social change on the song’s final verse.

Downpour’s readiness to touch on cultural issues is best showcased on penultimate track Don’t Say A Word, a grunge rock critique of the world’s power holders with incisive thoughts on materialism and collective inaction.

There’s an anger to Sylvee’s vocals on Don’t Say A Word, as if she’s echoing the calls for change demanded by her generation. 

Sylvee EP 'Downpour'

Downpour ends on a bittersweet note with I’m Fine, which distorts Sylvee’s vocals for a tender yet deflated message around resilience and vulnerability. Rich reverb and airy vocal riffs echo throughout the track, giving I’m Fine a distinctly ambient feel and a fitting finality to the tracklist.

Downpour as a whole feels to me like the term ‘Sink or Swim,” Sylvee said of the EP in a press statement. 

Swimming against a constant tide of challenges can be tough, but once you learn to stay afloat, you figure out that you can be the buoy of your own success.” Downpour follows Life on Mars as Sylvee’s second EP, with a handful of standalone singles like Tea and Divide having been released in between.

Listen to Sylvee’s latest release Downpour below, and watch the EP’s music video accompaniments above.