'Razbliuto' is the debut full-length album from experimental Cape Town electronica outfit Lark and rough comparisons with bands like Portishead are certainly not out of place.
But, instead of cat-like whispers and screams, Inge Beckman's versatile vocals offer a much darker and more gothic sound.
At times her voice is operatic, at times mischievous, almost in pop-mode. What is quite clear though, is that she certainly has some solid vocal training behind her.
And, when laid over Paul Ressel's excellently produced electronic soundscapes, the effect is highly atmospheric.
Much of the album's strength lies in the way in which Lark manage to be quite adventurous and experimental while still remaining accessible. Too many operatic interludes and twists to the arrangements could really have spoilt things.
As it is though, the sudden silences and tempo changes give their music a cerebral quality without ever stifling the groove. One gets the idea that the band had a very clear idea of what they wanted to do.
The subtle fusion of influences in a song like 'Russian dolls', and the cinematic vibe of 'Yuralastine de biao' offer some of the album's best moments. While on the enchanting 'Clown mayonnaise' the band show their lyrical acumen, enthusing the minor tones with phrases like "Sweet Jesus, we're in pieces, lamentably so."
The tone remains dark and sinister throughout, but never goes too far, constantly tempered by a musical playfulness that may make the album less angry, but certainly more mature.
And it is this sense of maturity and professionalism that really helps guide Lark's debut offering way beyond being just another disk from a "promising local band".