During the last several years, I’ve listened to tracks from Kid Moxie, but nothing ever caught my ear. Her new EP, Perfect Shadow, is stunning! Between the cinematic arrangements, her clever lyrics and crisp production, Kid Moxie has a real winner on her hands. I love it!
Kid Moxie is Elena Charbila, a Greek-born singer and actress who now calls Los Angeles home. Perfect Shadow features 6 new songs, plus remixes by Marsheaux, Tareq, Astronautica and dPen. Here are some highlights:
4AM – This fun, upbeat number is a great opener for this EP, and includes some cool echoing synth riffs and a driving beat. Elena’s voice floats gorgeously over the top, for a perfect mixture that sounds awesome in my headphones.
Dirty Air – Without question, this is the standout track of this EP. It is quite literally one of the best synthpop songs I’ve heard in quite a long time. Catchy melody, great synth riffs and Elena’s beautiful vocal stylings. Love it, love it, love it! In the creepy cool video for the song, Elena plays a mysterious femme fatale, who turns the tables on her suitor in a shocking way,
Still High – This is a pretty, melodic mid-tempo song that seems to be about a love that died, but the protagonist can’t let go. “Here I stand/In quicksand/By the phone/I’m still high on you/After all of this time.” A propulsive bass synth undergirds a lush arrangement, with Elena’s angelic voice plaintively floating on top. I love the point-counterpoint between her voice in the chorus and the lead synth. Very cool. This song really showcases her skills at arrangement and production – there’s a lot going on in this densely layered track, but it’s never muddied or indistinct. Every bit blends perfectly!
Under This New Light – Another enjoyable mid-tempo number, this one is underpinned by a rhythmic bass guitar riff and syncopated vocals. This song has a slightly haunting vibe to it, thanks to the reverb on her voice. “You were coming to find me/You were coming to love/You were coming to see me/Under this new light,” she recalls. Once again, the delicately arranged, intricate arrangement is what makes this song stand out.
Perfect Shadow – This is the first of two instrumentals on the Perfect Shadows EP, and it features frequent Kid Roxie collaborator The Gaslamp Killer. This is a very orchestral piece which would be right at home in Hollywood movie credits. It features a strong drumbeat and rhythmic sound effects, with a simple string melody taking the lead. Synth riffs float in and out of a lush soundscape.
The Girl Without a Secret – This is the second of two instrumentals on the EP. This one features a rhythmic minor key melody with whistled accents and strings plus vocalized notes over the top of it. Very pretty but slightly haunting.
Of the remixes on Perfect Shadow, my favorite is a remix of Dirty Air by the Greek synth duo Marsheaux. Oh. My. God! They have somehow taken this already excellent track and elevated it to an even more amazing level. They even manage to bring Elena’s voice more strongly to the forefront, while wrapping it in elegant synth washes and cool percussive fluorishes. Phenomenal!
Still High (Tareq Mix) is also very good. It gives this track more of a club feel, but doesn’t go overboard with the production. Nicely done!
I listen to a lot of synthpop, from both emerging and established artists. A lot of the new stuff really isn’t very good. But I’m willing to dig through a lot of so-so tunes to find a gem like Perfect Shadow and Kid Moxie. She perfectly blends lyrical storytelling with arrangements that are uniquely her own.
A number of times during my listens to this EP, I found myself going “Wow, that’s cool!” to her imaginative synth flourishes and effects – always the sign of superb modern synthpop, in my humble opinion.
Perfect Shadow is a must-have for any serious student of modern synthpop!