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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sevi Ettinger

Salty Water EP

Review by Gary Hill

Sevi Ettinger is 15 years old. That's important to remember when listening to this EP. It means that she's just beginning to develop as an artist. That's a good thing because her voice is quite strong, and she's very passionate about the problems in the world. Those two elements make this stand above some of the other less than stellar parts of the set.

The main issues here are about originality and over-production. This music lands pretty generically in the modern pop vein. This is the kind of thing that is all over the radio these days. That sounds like a good thing, right? The problem is, without a lot of unique nature, it's easy to become the flavor of the week and then just disappear without a lot of real impact. Add to that the fact that the production on the set is so artificial and trendy that this isn't the kind of music that will stand up well in a year or two.

Despite those negatives, though, this is an enjoyable set. Just don't expect it to stand apart from a lot of the other stuff out there. That's a shame because Ettinger really shows off that she has an exceptional voice. Her passion shows through, too. She deserves a better medium to show those things off. She's better than the modern pop flavor of the day. Here's hoping she gets the chance to show that in future releases.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Salty Water
The title track starts the EP. Keyboards start it, and the cut grows out from there to a somewhat soulful modern pop styled number. There are a lot of layers of vocals in the mix here, lending something special to a cut that would otherwise be a pretty ordinary pop number. Don't get me wrong, it would be a particularly well done pop song, but not anything with a lot of uniqueness.
Acoustic guitar opens this. Some cool keyboards come over the top. This works out to a more rock based pop sound from there. Again it's the multiple vocal layers that make this really gel. That said, this is a bit less generic than the opener was. It does suffer a bit from some of the keyboard textures that seem a bit clichéd. The arrangement further down the road gets a bit too processed.
Don't Fall Behind
The modern electronic pop elements on this are definitely a bit over the top. The cut has a good energy and groove despite that, though. There is an electronic, low pitched thing that comes in later in the track that just has a great vibe to it. It doesn't stay around long enough, though. There is a cool proggy dropped down movement on this, and that low pitch section returns. There are also some classical elements in the mix at times, too.
A bit more of a balladic cut, this is another solid one. It doesn't suffer as much from the pop trappings and over-production as some of the rest do. That allows this one to stand taller than the rest. Perhaps it's also a good blueprint for the direction in which Ettinger should evolve as her career continues.
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