REVIEW: Amatus – ‘Broken Compass’


Artist: Amatus
Album: Broken Compass
Genre: Pop, Electronic

If given the opportunity at an early age to sit in on sessions from some of R&B and hip-hop’s legendary acts such as The Roots, Erykah Badu, and Common, it’s no surprise that those experiences would have a resonating influence on the eventual sound and style of a budding musical talent. Taking cues from said luminaries and adding a mixture of her own personality and personal experiences, Amatus has crafted a 5-track debut EP that offers undeniable hooks, impressive vocals, and an array of percussion massive enough to put up a fair fight against her hair.

Broken Compass spans intensity levels from slow and somewhat sultry to anthemic with pummeling percussion. “Coming Home,” the EP’s opener traverses both of those areas. We’re immediately introduced to Amatus’ vocal range and melodic layers which essentially control the majority of the track but there are spikes of energy that you simply can’t deny and it only takes but a minute before you find yourself singing along with “I’m coming home / I’m coming home / so leave a key…for me.”

“Messin” wastes no time in continuing on with the aforementioned percussion but soon incorporates electronics that add a welcomed element to the wall of sound accompanied by Amatus’ smooth vocals. I picture this song being a blast in a live setting but it really has the potential to fit within many situations, mostly ones that involve partying in any capacity.

“Run Fast” contains my favorite vocal parts on the entire effort and even though the “What do you want?” transition is a little jarring at first, it’s followed by a massive chorus that flows right back into the beauty of the verses. “Punk” follows with all kinds of experimentation. Soft and almost eerie keyboard parts set the tone along with the always prominent percussion as Amatus guides you through the track’s three-and-a-half minutes with a hypnotically airy delivery that soothes you to the core before coming to the closer. “Cherish,” a very Morcheeba-esque offering, further explores the experimental elements with synths, both scattered and looped guitar bits, and laid-back lounge-y vocals that make for a very relaxing listen.

All in all, Broken Compass certainly puts Amatus on the map within the experimental pop ranks alongside acts like Little Dragon and trip-hop outfits of their ilk. The vocals alone would draw attention no doubt but the aid of unique arrangements makes for compositions that sound both fresh and full, a combination that leaves me eager to explore more of Amatus’ craft as she progresses further and becomes even more comfortable within her creations.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by: Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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