Encapsulating the gentle romance of warm summer days, London-based soloist XATIVA ushers her debut EP If I Am Falling out into the world.
Born out of heartbreak, the Swedish-Ecuadorian songwriter captures her thoughts in what feels like snippets of diary entries; distinctly personal in delivery, yet ultimately universal as they spill over into public view. With vocals delicately balanced on the cusp of a gentle, flickering breeze, her emotional poignance is as nostalgic as it is hypnotising.
Opener “Think Of Me Softly” sounds like drifting sunlight on a hazy, dappled evening. Soothing in sweet transparency, she coats the EP in sadness yet steers away from the mess that oft follows. With only the calm pattering of soft, twinkling guitar plucks to accompany, there is a sense of isolation to her sound, suited for a time where people feel out of touch, yet dripping in a wide-eyed hopefulness that’s hard to shake.
As the titular “If I Am Falling” chimes in, hints of the tenderness of Spanish-guitar take hold, with croonings of “If I am falling, let me fall into you”, caressed in her honeyed, choral vocals. Her sentimental attitude is near-saccharine, with authenticity sitting warmly at its heart, treating life experience as but a learning curve, she disregards the painful elements that many young artists become awash with.
Hard to place, her high-pitched melodies are reminiscent of Ex:Re’s cathartic tales, though lacking in the bitterness which so often keeps Elena Tonra’s narratives company. With a whispered softness recalling that of Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan, XATIVA holds her tranquil simplicity above all else, as third track “Summertime” begins to hint at a touch of desperation in its urgency.
With a gorgeously nostalgic outlook that forever seems a scintilla out of reach, there’s a natural beauty to her shimmering dulcet tones. As closer “I’ll Be Yours” brings a sense of clarity and resolution, at its core XATIVA’s debut reveals a heartfelt ambition to further bare her soul, in the hope of bringing comfort to those in tune with her kind and honest sentiments.