Written by Maria Arroyo
The Bay Area artist, SPELLLING, is proud to share her third full-length album, The Turning Wheel via Sacred Bones. SPELLLING, a.k.a. Chrystia Cabral, has made this record to “push the boundaries of her primarily synth-based work” while sharing themes of “human unity, the future, divine love and the enigmatic ups and downs of being a part of this carnival called life.”
While this project has been some time in the making, she explains it away as a “blessing in disguise.” The Turning Wheel is described as SPELLLING‘s demonstration of her “distinct evolution of lyrical style, from the more incantatory and abbreviated approach of her previous work to a more expansive, narrative production.”
The opening track, “Little Deer,” draws the curtains back to a very interesting and inviting sound. She showcases such beautiful musicianship, both in her performance and in her overall vocal tone.
Her next track, “Always,” presents a very timeless feeling to her music. Throughout the song, there are some older elements of 80’s pop love songs combined with a mix of very modern production. There are also many cultural influences throughout this song, and her voice is such a treat to listen to.
The following track is the album’s title track, “Turning Wheel,” and it is a beautifully soft and vulnerable song decorated with a very intimate, yet moving energy that is certainly not lacking in interest; whereas “The Future” features her lower and richer register, especially in her intricately written melodies. I really think there is a lot to unpack with this song because you can find something new in every listen.
This next track is definitely not one for the passive music listener. “Boys at School” is truly on its own level, as it is different from anything else on the album. It’s cinematic and larger than life, and it’s the intensity that it brings to the table that makes it a favorite for me on this album.
“Legacy” has a very psychedelic feeling to the song in a very intimate and haunting way. It’s full of suspense and really sends a slight shiver down your spine.
Following “Legacy,” is the song, “Queen of Wands.” This track is a beautiful string arrangement that brings to life a beautiful, futuristic, and ethereal sound that is just too enticing to forget. This song has a little bit of everything without being overwhelming and shifts into each different element so smoothly, it’s almost undetectable.
SPELLLING‘s next track, “Magic Act,” is a beautiful rock ballad with tons of texture where we get to see how she explores her understanding of how to mix different elements of genres together into one seamless song.
Her closing track, “Sweet Talk,” is a beautiful and spiritual ending to her album that highlights her strength and control as a vocalist and her ability to bring to life such a beautiful, thought-out concept for an album.
The Turning Wheel is a multitude of different concepts, genres, ideas, and musicians that are all blended together to create a beautifully cohesive project, and I truly hope anyone reading this review will allow themselves to experience this just as I did.
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