Dana Gavanski – ‘When It Comes’ album review

Dana Gavanski When It Comes album review

‘When It Comes’ finds Canadian-Serbian artist Dana Gavanski splicing her love of music from the 1950s to the ’70s with mythology and trying to find herself: ‘In many ways, this record feels like it is my first. When I could use my voice, I had to focus so there is an urgency and greater emotional trajectory than before… it’s very connected to vocal presence, which extended into an existential questioning of my connection to music. It felt like a battle at times, which I frequently lost.’

The record opens with some Ben Folds-esque piano on ‘I Kiss the Night’ before morphing into a lullaby sound with advice to go to sleep, no matter how hard things get and how disruptive your mind can be: ‘I built a fortress in my mind. Take away the thoughts.’ This is followed by the avant-garde pop stylings of ‘Bend Away & Fall’, which has a sinister carnival edge, and the beautifully layered break-up song ‘Letting Go’ – a piece that finds Dana glad to find solitude but also stressing the fact that ‘I need your love’.

‘The Day Unfolds’ has a stop-start opening with playful melodies and a gentle jazz-infused freakout towards the end while ‘Indigo Highway’ feels somewhat akin to Kraftwerk going chamber pop with personal lyrics: ‘I think I found my way home’. ‘Lisa’ is a sparse and slowed-down 6 and a half minutes that gives Dana the chance to show offer her vocal range – that falsetto towards the end gets you right in the feels – as she ponders ‘Chasing after days’ and asks ‘What can I offer you?’, while ‘The Reaper’ is more in the art pop space with moments reminiscent of Tom Tom Club before taking an abstract turn into a string-led alt-folk space – which long-term listeners will know harks back to Dana’s roots.

The record finishes in fittingly evocative and emotional style on ‘Knowing to Trust’, a song which confirms ‘When It Comes’ as an album you’ll come back to over and over again.

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