Album Review: Ursina – “Hiding Behind A Mask EP” bends and twists to exude emotional feelings

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Fresh out of Switzerland, award-winning vocalist Ursina received much praise for her 2013 recording, the EP Time Is a Thief, and she’s followed up that album with her latest effort, the Hiding Behind A Mask EP. The album demonstrates the path she’s taken with her music and the maturity her music has experienced as she progresses through her music career.

On the album, Ursina’s voice encompasses the crispness of living in a glacial and mountainous background with the softness of pop and folk music. Her music creates a sound that is folk pop with hints of an indie rock feel and a downtempo rhythm that brings everything into one ethereal but delicate package.

Ursina
Ursina

Ursina was inspired early in her musical journey by artists like Billie Holiday, Feist, Tom Waits and Jeff Buckley, influences you can hear periodically in her unique sound. She was also directly influenced by classical music and the folk songs written in her native tongue, Romansh, which is a lesser known language used only in the eastern Swiss Alps. This language is seamlessly weaved with English on her Hiding Behind A Mask EP, which lends an exotic lyricism to her recording. She mainly writes her lyrics to capture her own personal experiences and those of the people around her, grounding her music in realism and concepts listeners can readily relate to.

Her mother tongue Romash can be heard on two of her tracks, “Quel ch’el ei” and “Adia.” “Quel ch’el ei” is one of the more upbeat songs on the EP, with bright percussion backing her light, smooth singing in the verses and soaring vocals in the chorus. “Adia” takes a slightly different approach with sweeping percussion sounds that mimic the sounds of wind blowing swiftly across the ocean. Her voice takes on an almost haunting quality as it floats above the wind, slow and steady in a beautiful language you only wish you knew how to translate.

The album’s opening track, “Fit In,” kicks off the album with a fun, offbeat and uptempo rhythm with lyrical melodies that bend and twist to exude an expressive and emotional feeling. These emotive lines grip the listener, particularly in the chorus and when her voice holds a solitary high note in the bridge. This track was featured on WiFi PR Group’s Indie Anthems Vol. 9, where she joined other international independent artists spanning a wide range of genres. The digital mixtape was handed out at CMJ Music Marathon in October 2014, and 1,500 download copies are available on the Indie Anthems Bandcamp page.

Ursina and her band released their first music video in late 2014 for “Masks,” off this latest EP. Ursina plans to follow Hiding Behind A Mask with a full-length recording, which she’s currently writing and plans to release in 2015.

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