Alexandra Levy who goes more commonly by her stage name of Ada Lea is a truly outstanding young artist with a frankly overwhelming plethora of skills at hand. Based in Montreal and Quebec she is arguably one of the best exports Canada has offered the world in a few good years.
Lea is an artist in a very true sense of the word as she has turned her skills to not merely singing, song-writing and music, but also to painting and visual art. It is only this year however that she has truly combined these elements together to craft her dangerously catchy debut album What We Say in Private. This is a monumental album not simply for Lea as a performer but also for the drastically blurred lines she paints between a sugary pop genre and contemporary folk. What We Say in Private is a perfect collection of melodies that bleed these sweetened elements with the more sombre and restrained of the folk and indie world to produce an album that is packed full of bouncing, jubilant tunes that are as layered and textured as any painting. Lea carefully places layer upon layer in her work to create a masterful soundscape as she plays with two ultimately fairly conflicting genres to produce a sound that is nothing short of breath-taking. Songs such as The Party have an almost eerie element to them but beneath the surface you can hear subtle melancholic ripples spreading out but you can’t help but feel a warmth growing in your heart.
Lea’s music is not only fascinatingly beautiful but is also brazenly experimental throughout the whole of her album. Songs like For Real Now (Not Pretend) are completely off-the-wall pieces of art that create a bridge between her various artistic outlets, making the track come off more as an art exhibit than a song per se. It is in tracks like this that her burning desires and daring streaks shine brightest as she experiments with sound, electronica, looping and verbal editing. It also serves to give you what feels like an intimate view into her mind. Her style is completely unique and yet at times you can hear elements of fusions and inspirations of other artists spanning the world. Her smooth, sweet and almost haunting vocals can sometimes be comparable to macabre Icelandic artist Soley while her music and output is not too dissimilar from fellow Canadians Tegan and Sara. What’s most refreshing about Lea’s work is that not only can you never get a handle on where she will go next, you also get the impression that neither does she. Each song is a bold new statement and it feels as though it’s a journey that you go on together.
Simply put, you couldn’t ask for a better debut album. Lea has exceeded herself before she’s even started and has deftly brought an entire new landscape to your life. As her honeyed vocals drive their way through you with her discordantly charming folk-pop melodies a vivid new world of colours seem to bubble and pop before your very eyes leaving you with an overarching sense of peace and happiness when it all comes to an end.
‘what we say in private’ is now available for pre-order in multiple formats — including a limited edition glow-in-the-dark vinyl exclusive to the Saddle Creek webstore — HERE.
See Ada Lea live:
Tuesday 22nd June – Troyes, FR @ The Nuits De Champagne
Friday 25th June – Groningen, NL @ USVA
Saturday 26th October – Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling
Sunday 27th October – Rotterdam, NL @ Rroodkapje
Thursday 31st October – Bristol, UK @ The Crofters Rights
Friday 1st November – Manchester, UK @ The Castle Hotel
Saturday 2nd November – London, UK @ Mirrors Festival
Monday 4th November – Glasgow, UK @ The Hug And Pint *
Tuesday 5th November – Newcastle, UK @ Surf Cafe
Wednesday 6th November – Brighton, UK @ The Hug & Pint *
Tour dates and tickets via adaleamusic.com
Review by Joe Knipe