ALBUM REVIEW: GEA - Call For A Snake

8/10

ALBUM REVIEW: GEA - Call For A Snake

Finnish art-rock/dream-pop artist GEA, aka Laura Avonius, recently released her brand-new album, Call For A Snake, via Fragity Records. Working remotely during the pandemic, the album was produced by Grammy/Juno winner Chris Birkett, while the vocal recording was handled by engineer/producer Oona Kapari, followed by mastering in Brooklyn by Fred Kevorkian. Graphic design performed in Tallinn, Estonia by bynew. Co.

A concept album, the title – Call For A Snake – refers to a call for Kundalini energy and mirrors the path to spiritual enlightenment embodied by spirit animals: a snake, a swan, a crow, and a snow bunting.

The album’s genesis occurred when GEA received unfair treatment at her workplace. Yet rather than yielding to the demands of her ego, she took up yoga, which succeeded. So, she kept doing it. Over the next year, yoga opened a door releasing energy in GEA, totally transforming her life. Quitting her job, she began working on Call For A Snake.

GEA explains, “All of the sudden, the things that used to make sense to me, didn’t. I had many emotional and physical symptoms that led to a complete lifestyle change. I no longer could consume coffee, alcohol and meat. When we were in Hailuoto recording this album, I became aware of the concept of kundalini awakening and realized that I had had one while writing it.”

Blending elements of ambient, electronic, tribal, acoustic and symphonic music with tints of darkwave and indie-pop, Call For A Snake divides into four segments: tracks 1-4 signify the crow, dark and tribal, reflecting the pain of choosing not to wake up. Tracks 5-8 denote the snake, revealing the latent Kundalini energy inside people. Tracks 9-11 embody the swan, discharging the beauty, gratitude, and joy of being awake. Tracks 12-14 correspond to the snow bunting, suggesting the innocence found in birth and death.

According to GEA, “My message with this album is that all the wisdom you need is inside of you. The snake is guarding this spiritual knowledge, and you need to wake up your inner voice to access it.” Call For A Snake starts with “Predefined,” opening on a darkly gleaming tone atop a rumbling, measured rhythm. Luminous vocal harmonies fill the tune with ghostly hues, while GEA’s foreboding timbres imbue the lyrics with intent.

Highlights include “Truth Between The Lies,” with its contagious mixture of dream-pop and art-rock textures. Delicate and crystalline, GEA’ voice imbues the lyrics with mystical surfaces and delicious sonic nuances.

Simultaneously ethereal and cryptic, the title track projects gossamer, potent strands of misty washes riding an ancestral rhythm, quivering with suppressed energy. The thrumming, Celtic feel of “Despite” and its hypnotic beat pulls listeners in as the alluring voice of GEA wraps them in soft chains.

“Your Hand In Mine” percolates with gentle pop savours melded with subterranean hums of bass, providing the tune with dark and light textures, while GEA’s angelic tones give the lyrics an elusive sensuous tinge.

The ultimate track, “Jää Huurteinen Maa,” features traditional folk aromas along with classical touches. The result resembles a nursery rhyme coloured by ozone smelling breaths. Gorgeous yet shaded with portentous timbres. This might be the album’s best track.

Innovative and imaginative, mystical and ethereal, on the one hand, Call For A Snake echoes with numinous frissons, while on the other hand, it’s simply superb music. In other words, Call For A Snake should delight unspiritual listeners as well as the spiritual.

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