Ewan Gleadow

EP Review: Eleni Drake – Vanilla Sky

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Credit: Amber Van de Sande

Amalgamating artists from a variety of different genres is an impossible accomplishment. To take their stylings and their showmanship, their unique sounds and definable qualities, only to mash them together with surprisingly strong results, is a pipe dream for many independent artists. There are rare examples of so many influences rubbing together and paying off, and Vanilla Sky is one such product. Pooling identifiable influences from just about anyone and everyone, the six-track EP is a standout among a vast ocean of content. Eleni Drake has crafted a drop of exceptional content for this endless sea of independent artistry. 

With the titular track being the clear, comfortable highlight, Drake utilises the acoustics and ethereally-driven sounds that back her vocal talents. It is a lucid experience, six strong tracks that clock in at barely twenty-five minutes, and the outcome is an exceptional series of tracks. Vanilla Sky is an EP that shows, rather clearly, that the creative at the heart of it all is writing with a genuine talent and ability, rather than some ulterior motive to sell or shift copies of their work. That much shines through, Melbourne Blues, the EP’s promotional single, draws from experiences of travelling Australia and New Zealand, and that longing to return can be felt rather clearly on the track. 

King Street and Kinda Hopeless exemplify the concept of using this work to simply have fun. Strong lyrical stylings are on offer in these two tracks, King Street offers an effective, rewarding repetition from the backing track of steady drumbeat and tambourine rattles, whilst Drake incorporates melancholy and rock strands, combining the two together as best she can. The result is superb, a clear high note for a fusing of two very different genres and styles. Lyrically serviceable, with every track reminiscent of a song heard long ago on the trailing finale of an indie-pop encore, it is great to hear an EP that collects those forgotten finishers, turning them into a six-track bit of brilliance.  

Vanilla Sky is a strong EP, the independent equivalent of Alex Turner’s crooning brilliance, paired with the slow-burning tones found on only the most experienced of artists’ works. It does not bring a wave of crashing creativity to the shores of greatness, but what Drake has crafted here is a strong EP relying on their favourite artists. As close to a passion project as possible, playing with lyrical witticisms and comfortable genre tropes. Why push the envelope when you can reap the rewards of your influences? It’s a solid idea, and one that pays off with great success here.  

You can listen to Vanilla Sky below.