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Closer revels in Maria Chiara Argirò's subtlety and grace

Release date: 26 April 2024
Maria Chiara Argiro Closer cover
26 April 2024, 14:00 Written by Nicolas Graves

Italian musician Maria Chiara Argirò has been in and around different strands of the UK music scene for the past decade or so.

First as a jobbing keyboardist for hire in groups like These New Puritans and then emerging with her own compositions out of the burgeoning jazz scene. Her last record, the excellent Forest City, saw her establish a niche of her own, drawing from her previous excursions but existing in an oneiric paradigm unique to her.

Fully two years later, and back with a new album Closer – also arriving via uber-hip label Innovative Leisure – the dreaminess of her previous effort is still present but the songs are generally more taught and focused. The album begins with the elegant disco of "Light", and a beautifully melodic and restrained synth line that introduces the chorus in a way that is redolent of Kate Bush. A sax solo weaves its way into view and subsequent key change draw more obviously from her jazz background.

The title track doesn’t stray far from the blueprint set out by "Light", but "Grow" is more interesting with more than a passing glance at the dance floor. It doesn’t stick around for long, but it’s not hard to imagine an exuberant, extended live version. The same goes for "Sun" which appears on the second half of the record and has Balearic inflections.

"Time" is probably the most explicitly jazz moment on the album, and has a charming build and some wonderfully intricate moments. Another previous single closes the album, "Floating" makes more use of the vocoder, which appears sporadically throughout the record, and has a glorious blend of synths, samples and percussion which build pleasingly to a crescendo.

Overall, Closer is an album that sounds beautiful and revels in subtlety and grace. It’s not hard to imagine hearing it in cafes and bars this summer, seeping into rooms like ray of light piercing through dust, and hopefully in festival tents and concert halls it can grow into an expansive, mesmeric future.

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