Olivia Castriota Will Not Miss a Beat with her EP All at Once
Surrounded by a great team of musicians, Olivia Castriota unveils her vocal power.
It’s clear the girl has chops. Her influences of R&B and soul are obvious, and come from an early love of these genres. Proud recipient of the 3rd place winner on Amateur Night at the Apollo, the songstress has worked with ‘The God Mother of R&B’ Lil’ Mo, Grammy nominated artists like Marky from The Ramones, Songwriter of five #1 hit songs Vlado Kolenic and with Hip Hop phenom Starchild. This album contains 8 tracks of well arranged and produced musicians prowess.
The first half of the album was what got me the most: Call your Lady, the first track on the album is upbeat and full. A strong horns section ads a lot of depth to the whole thing. The hooks are clear, the arrangements are clean and clear. Olivia is surely lucky to be working with an amazing lot!
I Wanna Know is also a track that’s clearly worked hard on, with a strong production. It’s easy to imagine it on radio for sure. Everything about the arrangements works perfectly. The main hook “I wanna know, can you love me good, can you love me right” is strong and sticks.
I love how on Spotify, the title Do You Miss Me has an “explicit” label next to it… The jazzy track puts an image of an after-war party in the 40’s with a big band playing and ladies with curly red hair and bright lipstick dancing with soldiers having just gotten back from France.
Drink Up Baby‘s blues adds a smoky vibe to the rest. Add to that a great horn solo accompanied by well dosed piano. If anything, this is the track that should be “explicit” with bitter-sweet vocal parts of jaded lyrics over a sensuous melody.
If You Were Here is a classic ballad of longing for a loved one. The production of the track with a repetitive guitar and high pattern on the piano paired with brushes on the drums make for a candle light atmosphere of melancholy.
Despite the high quality of the production, the arrangement, the musicianship, the execution and everything around the album, I found myself a bit bored by the middle of the album. Yes it’s all really well done, and driven, but I guess I’ve heard it already. Maybe the live version of these songs grabs the attention more? Watching a live at Paste Magazine was much more entertaining than the studio album. Now, there is nothing wrong with working hard on your craft. There are however time with Olivia where it feels like she could stand to let go. Still, kudos for the clear hard hard hard work put into all this!