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For seven years, twin sisters Cristi and Jessica Zambri performed as a duo known simply as, ZAMBRI. Their electro-pop made them a favorites of New York City’s music scene. The two have been inseparable, but they’ve taken a step back from their joint project to focus on other initiatives. The first effort out is Jessica’s solo project under the moniker Solvey, under which she released her self-titled debut last week.
Solvey retains some of the pop arrangements of the sisters’ project, but it’s grittier and heavier than their twin’s more upbeat and optimistic pop. It’s an intentional approach by Zambri, not necessarily to differentiate herself from the duo’s work but more to match the highly introspective nature of the album. For throughout the ten songs, Zambri touches on issues of confidence, independence, and self-discovery through her alter-ego, Solvey. As she explained on her Facebook page, “I call it Solvey because I name myself Solvey. This is the most personal thing I’ve put together in a long while or ever.”
The opening track, “Solvey”, which incorporates strings in edgy pop tune, perfectly encapsulates the personal journey, as Zambri sings about the anxiety that accompanies every step of her journey to be her own individual. This theme of loneliness is once again repeated on the powerful “From Here”, on which Zambri’s voice never peaks beyond a whisper despite the blazing of synths and guitars during the track’s climax. It’s anthemic pop-rock done to perfection. “Redlight” takes on a slightly different approach, a song about longing and want during her most dire state – a feeling we’ve all had when we were at our most vulnerable.
The middle track, “The Weight”, has the grit and brilliance of St. Vincent. The song centers on Zambri’s fuzzed-out guitar and vocals. Despite it’s lo-fi approach, it might be the star of the album, as Zambri’s single guitar creates a claustophobic feel to match the song’s about the walls closing in. That’s followed up by “I Know I Know”, a dramatic tune that transitions between a euphoric pop chorus with an 80s-esque electro-rock sound.
“Late Night” is the one of two tracks on the album that focuses on a broken relationship. It’s a dramatic take on ’80s pop-rock ballads, making it perfect for one of those coming-of-age movies many of us grew up watching. “He She We”, a 90s-inspired track, similarly speaks about the third person who comes in between two people, although the protagonists may not necessarily be two lovers.
Separation. Lost. Loneliness. Isolation. Themes that permeate throughout the album. It makes the closing track, “Wave”, an interesting choice. Upbeat and optimistic, Zambri looks towards the future and the possibilities that await her as Solvey. It is a wave goodbye to what was and a welcoming of what is to come. Whether Zambri has fully embraced her identity as Solvey is unknown, but for one moment in time she has embraced her situation and with that ended a powerful, introspective album on a high.
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Photo by Catherine Zambri Riggs
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