Published Jan 25, 2017Alejandra Ribera's new album, This Island, sounds distinctly different from her last two releases. She's still got that torchy-jazzy-folk vibe, and her liquid and expressive voice is still utterly unique, but the rhythmic ebb and flow of her songwriting is turned up a notch, taking her into territory that, while not quite pop, is certainly catchy.
The album starts off slowly, with the pensive, heartbeat rhythm of "Russian Plates on Michigan Avenue" and continues in a crescendo of speed and urgency. Later on the album, songs like "Carry Me" and "Led Me to You" feature subtle, hip–shaking beats and full arrangements, with a bit of brass in the background.
It all leads up to the intense, bilingual release of "Will Not Drown," before the songs slow down again for a denouement of ballads, including the stunning "Undeclared War." On that song, she sings in an almost conversational exchange between French and English, winding and rhyming the two languages together in a way that anyone with a bilingual family will find familiar.
While Ribera's earlier work seemed written for people to listen to, This Island is going to make the audience move. (Pheromone)