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Nostalgia/Pain EP

Elizabeth Anka Vajagic
Nostalgia/Pain EP
(Constellation Records)

On her debut Stand With The Stillness Of This Day, I found some things to be excited about by Elizabeth Anka Vajagic, but also felt that the release dragged a bit during points. Nostalgia/Pain EP is her follow-up release and despite being shorter in overall length, the songs on it are even more epic, as she drops the two title tracks in with a running length of just over thirty minutes total while tagging on another short track at the end of the release.

"Nostalgia" opens the release and runs a whopping seventeen minutes and Vajagic really unleashes the full depth of her vocals as she ranges between almost-breaking falsetto to a guttural groan. Musically, she's joined by members of Molasses and The Shalabi Effect as the eerie (to say the least) track quivers and shrieks and groans and pushes along like some sort of tribal chant that swirls and falls and builds and turns into a feverish frenzy. At twelve minutes, "Pain" isn't exactly a pop song, and musically it strips back even more to reveal the vocals of Vajagic (which again are all over the board) during the first half before building to a gorgeous, marching (almost thunderous) piece during the latter section.

The release closes with the relatively short (just over three minutes) "Beneath Quiet Mornings" and the track is a woozy comedown to a release that is just as much incantation as song. Despite not even being named in the title of the EP, the short track is easily one of the best pieces that Vajagic has done to date as the haunting instrumentation evokes pure desolation while Vajagic sings away in a rather straightforward manner. At this point, I have no doubt that Vajagic has a wide range of vocal styles and dynamics, but like her first release I find her best songs to be the ones in which her vocals don't have to rely on any more overt tactics in order to make their point. Still a somewhat aquired taste vocally, Vajagic is a singer who isn't afraid to let it all come pouring out.

Rating: 6.25