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– Ramona Lisa – Arcadia (Terrible Records)

Boxx Magazine | Ramona Lisa – Arcadia (Terrible Records)

Sunday 27th December 2015,


Ramona Lisa – Arcadia (Terrible Records)

Francisco Reyes May 15, 2014

Overall Score

Ramona Lisa Arcadia

Caroline Polachek may have surpassed her original journey of creating background music for haunted houses, but she certainly hasn’t stopped making haunting music. Polachek, who is half of the indie pop band Chairlift, has come out with a new solo project, and although she had a mess of monikers to choose from, in the end she went with the playful and cultural conscious Ramona Lisa

Her alter ego’s debut, Arcadia, was written and recorded on tour, a challenge that Polachek credits to a truly unique recording experience. She specifically was inspired by her time in the Villa Medici in Rome. Another unprecedented feature about Arcadia is that it was made entirely from a laptop without the usage of instruments or external mics. Polachek states she recorded it from hotel closets and vacant airport gates, giving her creation that lo-fi, enchanted forest for listeners to lose themselves inside.

Aside from songs like “Backwards & Upwards” and “Lady’s Got Gills”—which have infectious, glistening hooks like the ones we have grown so fondly of from Chairlift—Arcadia is mysterious and warm. While the track “Avenues” features cryptic beats accompanied by Polachek’s lovestruck singing and soothing crackling filling the gaps, some of the songs on Arcadia come off a bit too flooded with synth, making them somewhat meticulous.

Then you have a song like the title track, which embodies the influence of Virginia Astley‘s music on the whole album, complete with soft textures and organic aesthetics. “I Love Our World” is truly an abstract track full of droned synths, field recordings of bugs and birds and promising keys that instantaneously return to their primitive stage.

The underdeveloped quality of this LP mirrors Polachek’s nascent musical career, but from the sounds of it, it shouldn’t take her long before she delivers on her masterpiece.