Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
Honest expression is difficult to convey in music. In the modern day, we live under so many layers of simulation, and our communication involves so many subtexts and reference points, that truth and genuine feelings can often be few and far between. What is needed in order to both traverse the modern world and parle with modern ideas and situations – while also being explorative and daring – is a person who can live simultaneously in both. An artist who dredges up feelings with an uncaring or nonchalant demeanour, and uses cultural references as a guide rope to lead us along with, and that is what we find in angelicaa.
Sims Life, for example, finds the artist in a kind of everyday hell. All agency has been given up to some overseeing force, as instrumentation that utilises organic and electronic aspects creates a dark and somewhat defunct atmosphere. Guitar samples are jerked up in pitch suddenly, as angelicaa compares her desire to express herself with someone else’s desire to wear bootcut jeans. This could either be a deprecation of the act of expression, or a sardonic comment on those that the artist sees in the outside world. Either way, the track has this creeping sense that, in the modern world, none of us are truly doing things of our own volition; trapped in a hyper modern, hypnotic loop, and this is explored expertly through use of tone and atmosphere.
angelicaa’s affiliation with the UK - London more specifically - certainly helps to build this dry demeanour. Her dour tone on each track inspires humour as she boils potentially heady subjects down to throwaway colloquialisms. Simpsons Sky finds the artist striving to be hopeful about the future, stalled by a feeling of obscurity. In the verse – that features trappy percussion meshing with loose and bleary chords – the artist cuts through feelings of angst and sadness: ‘want what you can’t have and all that, yeah, that old chestnut?’ she asks, belittling feelings of injustice and possibly lovelorn anguish with sharp, undermining language. Here we find serious feelings treated with a playful and sarcastic edge, allowing for rewarding commentary via unique and intriguing instrumentation.
The music moves alongside angelicaa’s untypical delivery with interesting beats. Rugrat sits somewhere in the intersection of moody 90s ambient, solemn alternative rock and clattering trap with its mixing of melancholy descending melodies and heavy percussion. The instrumental washes over the listener as angelicaa’s comedically cryptic lyrics leak out in a hushed tone. Living also displays the fantastic production abilities of First Circle, as the amalgamation of leftfield electronic sounds and post-punk guitar perfectly match lyrics that simultaneously explore feelings of aspiration and futility.
Thoroughly entertaining and exceptional in its sound, angelicaa FC pulls from many different genres for inspiration. What shines throughout is the influence of the UK sound, in the chameleon instrumentation supplied by First Circle that utilises slick electronic sounds alongside jagged organic guitar, and also in the unforgettably humorous and expressive performance set forth by angelicaa.