Facepaint

Buzzy Lee 'Facepaint' Review by Northern Transmissions
Buzzy Lee

Our Rating

8.5/10

Despite her modest film career Sasha Spielberg has continued to explore her musical side with even more fascinating results, and her latest EP as Buzzy Lee shows a lush level of detail. As she sets her voice at the centre of every track a wondrous mix of synths and strange sound-scapes slowly infect every track. Although some tracks may feel too monotonous for some, the album is an overall soothing and mysterious exploration of Spielberg’s powerful voice.

The ethereal overtones create a haunting feeling on “Facepaint” as the album opens in a slow swell of synths and brutally honest lyrics. As keyboard hooks dance around the beat slowly emerges, leading the song into a much more dynamic energy. Soon Spielberg’s vocals get more playful and the song’s slow-burning energy allows her to feel around the space more. The song continues to evolve into a strangely filtered bridge that interprets the main hooks under layers of effects, and closes the song out on a moody and off-putting weight.

“Coolhand” has a much more immediately dark energy to it, as Spielberg focuses her sound into a jazzy indie pop. Harnessing tones of French new wave in the song’s dark and electronic momentum, she’s sings a subtle yet fun commentary on tackling life. Things twist and turn in the reverb-drenched bridges, as it even seems like Spielberg herself is getting lost in the track. Though the track seems to really loop on its one main hook for the most part, Spielberg is able to lean into this riff for a bright but somewhat dangerous sound.

The effects are stripped away for “On The Radio (Teach Me)” as simple piano rings out to let Spielberg really build a song slowly, and let effects add to the emotional heft. Between the light harmonies and her back and forth with her own set of vocals, the track creates a sort of inner monologue that suggests a sense of despair. After a sudden ring, the song starts to descend into its layers of echoes and chorus to have every dancing melody surrounded in a strange cascade of noise. Even as a much more straightforward piece, Spielberg really surrounds her song with a lot of unusual tricks.

A cool air surrounds “No Her” as Spielberg commands her lover to change their ways while realizing her own evils. The mix of doubt and desire in the lyricism feels both intriguingly demented while utterly human as Spielberg looks out for herself above all else. In all this the vocals begin to get surrounded in a smoky haze out of an episode of Twin Peaks, while Spielberg becomes pulled into the mood. Suave guitar hooks flutter out for a cheesy but appropriate solo, that really sets this into the weird Lynchian idiosyncrasies that Spielberg lays out.

“Walk Away” runs on a deceptively simple vocal hook, letting Spielberg infect your ears with her catchy melody before you even realize it. As she’s taking things over, the beats rock over and let loose a wave of subdued noise to really accent the worry of the song. As Spielberg’s vocals become almost synth-like, the track starts to cut into its finale for one last swell of beautiful voice-driven harmony.

Words by Owen Maxwell