Laura Mendes – No Control – EP Review
A very interesting combination of talents coming from producer & composer Sergio Aquino, featuring the fantastic talents of Laura Mendes bringing his vision to life…with a pretty-even balance between languages, sounds and styles that make for an experience that’s certainly different from a lot of what you might find around you or on your playlists at this very moment. Especially if you’re in North America…you’ll notice right away that the music has that distinct European flavor to it…assuming you’re familiar with what that might sound like from whichever corner of the world you might be reading this from! Music…as I’ve often mentioned…is the great universal language that is able to transcend borders…and no amount of land, sea or air in between us all can stop that communication now that we’re all united online. I feel extremely comforted by the fact that I’m well-aware of many music-scenes out there…privileged really…it’s been an honor to be able to experience so many sounds and songs from so far away from where we’ve been based here in Canada.
Though some of the songs on the new EP from Laura Mendes are in English…many of them aren’t as well…and it’s in those times that you have to rely on your heart…connect to the melody, rhythm or groove by simply closing your eyes and allowing the music to take you into an artist’s world for real, and leave our own behind. And I can do that…in fact, I always invite the opportunity…and here we are today, in the world of AS Productions with a brand-new world-star emerging through the beautiful sounds of Laura’s voice…
While there’s no denying to our longtime readers that the music itself isn’t what I’d typically…that’s not always why I’m here! No Control starts out with “Toi Et Moi” – a bright pop-electro rhythm that borders right on the edge of soft-rock/easy-listening for the most part. What’s massively impressive right away, is the featured star – Laura absolutely pours her soul right into the microphone…and while I might not personally understand a word of what’s happening in the lyrics, I can certainly appreciate the beauty and confidence that she sings with. Against a backing track like this – it’s quite easy to hear that Laura is no ordinary talent…she has an exquisite voice and most importantly, she knows exactly how to use it.
You can hear her shining on the stunning second track “Da Me” – where the music plays a massive role in the gorgeous melody that she sings along to. It’s another sweetly-toned electro-pop rhythm…the easy-listening qualities of the first track are long forgotten here as the music and Laura take a turn towards the modern-day sound of R&B added in. The production sparkles…you can hear things like Laura’s voice coming from the lefts & rights clearly, once again putting in a strong performance that really highlights her incredible abilities. She seems quite young from her social-media pages…but you’d swear she was born with a microphone in her hands, ready to record. As “Da Me” uses a synth piano-line to form the melody…the music is a perfect canvas for this artist to paint on – and once again, Laura rises to the occasion with comfort, ease and confidence that will absolutely ring true to anyone within earshot.
“Follow Me” has her singing in English for the first time on the No Control EP…and quite honestly, she sounds like she fits perfectly once again. So not only can she sing incredibly well with perfect pitch & tone – it also seems as if there’s no such thing as a language-barrier existing in Laura’s world – she’s every bit as solid in English as she’s been in her native French. “Follow Me” gives her a real chance to display that talent to a whole new audience…Europe might not know just how key it is that those in North America have something to sing-along to or they usually just ignore it for the most part. In my heart of hearts…I’d love to think we’re all the same when it comes to listening to music from another language…but sadly, I know that’s not always the case. Against the sparkling rhythms of “Follow Me” – Laura has opened up more doors for herself and Aquino’s music…and I can honestly hear that many people from the dance, pop & R&B crowd would identify with her style.
She has a complete grace in her approach that makes for an intoxicating listening experience. On the title-track “No Control” – she puts in a stellar performance alongside the emotional textures you’ll find in the music and atmosphere of her EP’s title-tune. There’s great depth and dynamics to this song…you can hear that it deserves to be that centerpiece of this new record. Largely due to the versatile nature of the melody in the music once again…and extremely on Laura’s shoulders to bring out her best to support the emotional mood of the music and lyrics, which she does flawlessly, once again. The beauty and emotion of this song make it have layers of depths you can dive right into and truly feel.
Placement is always a key thing on any album…and especially after a song as defining as “No Control” is…the kind of song that is a real tough one to outdo for overall quality in the writing. Chances are – Laura and Aquino were in a tough spot here…it would have been hard to figure out that next move…and truthfully…though I can appreciate the electro-induced rhythm of “Sempre Mais” – it also sounds completely out of place here after “No Control.” It’s a great song…huge, stunning dynamics in the rhythm and groove that are paced-out more quickly and up-tempo than any of the others on the EP, proving that they’re just as effective as a combination of talents in a completely different style…but in truth, after repeat listens and how well the other five-tracks sound together as one cohesive idea, I probably would have left “Sempre Mais” off of this particular recording and saved it for the next. Again…good song, but so different from the rest of what you’ll hear that it clearly stands-out – just probably not in all the ways that it should.
These two talents combine again for the greater good at the end of the EP for “Dizer Sim” – which in my opinion would have made a lot more sense coming after “No Control” and keeping the new record to five tracks instead of six, leaving “Sempre Mais” for the next record, or perhaps released alongside the lead-single for the No Control EP. Love the beat of “Dizer Sim” – and the atmosphere of the electro-pop has an incredibly distinct melody-line that really satisfies. It all makes for a fantastic ending of this EP…they’ve definitely chosen a memorable final track for the No Control EP – one that showcases the talents of the writing as much as the performance itself.
No telling just how far around the world this music might take Mendes and Aquino…there’s solid potential here and a lot for everyone to enjoy. Entertaining no matter how you examine it – they’ve done a great job of assembling the No Control EP and put together rhythms and melodies with tremendous confidence you will certainly appreciate. Great job!
Find out more about Laura Mendes at her official page at: http://as-prods.com/
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