Review: With ‘Call It Love,’ Briana Marela Reshapes Pop Music in Her Own Image

2017 has been quite the year for Olympia’s Briana Marela, and she’s going nowhere but up. Some feats Marela achieved this year include opening for Perfume Genius at the Neptune Theatre in October, embarking on her first European tour in the fall, and releasing her third studio album, entitled Call It Love. Released via Jagjaguwar on August 4th, it’s fair to claim that Marela’s record is one of the most impressive pieces to come out of the PNW all year.

The theme of Call It Love is all explained on the first track of the album, “Be In Love.” Throughout the record, Marela explores the ups, downs and in-betweens of romance and the baggage that comes along with it. Surrounded by swirling synths, Marela’s voice shines through in an angelic harmony on this track, which introduces herself and her music.

Marela’s unique talent continues to shine through on the other nine tracks of the album. While some are pure synthpop tunes, others lean more onto the ambient side, in which Marela layers different textures and sounds to create a captivating musical atmosphere.

From the start, it’s clear to see that Marela isn’t your typical pop artist. Her whispery yet crystal clear vocals don’t just carry the lyrics of each track, but are also integrated into the background as a sort of instrument. This fascinating production decision adds an extra flare of excitement to Marela’s music, and displays her talent as a musician. The song “Give Me Your Love” is the perfect example of creative production decisions put into effect. The sudden tempo change and beat switch up midway through the tune add an unexpected yet perfectly smooth transition into the last chorus of the song.

As a whole, Call It Love is the perfect record to put on to forget about your troubles. As you listen to the album, it’s easy to completely immerse yourself in Marela’s intriguing words and melodies. As impressive as Marela’s album and overall year has been, I only see bigger and better things coming from her in the near future.

(You can listen to Call It Love below or purchase it via Bandcamp. Make sure to follow Briana Marela on Facebook.)