Meet Swandy: a Joburg-based eclectic muso who boasts a hybrid sound which saddles somewhere between alternative pop-rock and electronic. On a first listen I’m reminded of Kate Bush, but swigs of experimental vocalism and jarring melody pull Louise Eksteen into her own music persona – Swandy – with fashionable ease.
Her latest album The Throne Room is testament to her creative vision, and it’s not only due to the indulgent compositional style that permeates every niche of this record, but the concept behind it too. Based on the major arcana of Tarot, each track is named after one of the 22 major arcana cards, inviting listeners to ask a question, press shuffle, and see what card, and answer, they get.
Yet the answers to our questions lie not only in the name of each song, but the music itself, centering the lyrical and emotional touch of each track. Suddenly The Throne Room feels strangely divine, each line sung by Swandy becoming all the more surreal in its meaning.
Still the parts of this record that are of this earth ground Swandy’s music for the better. Her bewitching voice dominates, but only to help tease the other sounds at play – scattered percussion, crooked basslines and vexing chord progressions – all together forming a soundscape that’s bravely feverish.