There is something enduring about great love songs. Briana Marela’s new album, Call It Love, out August 4th on Jagjaguwar / Rhythmethod, wraps its wide arms around the subject, invoking all its complexity. From the getgo, Call it Love opens with a reflection on a new love. An unfurling, ambient hum builds slowly, articulating that unmistakable head-in- the-clouds feeling that accompanies early love, before giving way to an uptempo melody and a clattering, joyful chorus. Layers and textures evoke its subtler feelings, while the lyrics speak frankly, holding nothing back. Deepening her songwriting and expanding her palette, on Call It Love Marela has made her proverbial giant leap to explore the sounds of love in beautiful, striking new ways.
Before writing the songs that would become Call It Love, Marela was typically guided by her instincts as a producer and engineer. She studied audio production in Olympia at The Evergreen State College, and her previous albums, Speak From Your Heart and All Around Us, capture that early spirit of exploration. Marela’s original vision for this album was to dig into the two poles of her songwriting styles: her ambient, ethereal side and her brighter, beat-driven pop leanings. She enlisted the production help of Juan Pieczanski and Ryan Heyner of the band Small Black who brought a strong percussive instinct, weaving pop and polish into even the most spaced-out cinematic arrangements.
“Originally, I was trying to make this album have cohesive pairs of songs,” Marela says. “Sister songs, where all the ambient songs would have a poppier match, and vice versa.” What followed instead was a fusion of the two styles, with Marela’s subtler, sweeter side crashing into her bolder, brighter one. The album’s deep, dramatic centerpiece and lead single “Quit” was originally penned about a breakup with a longtime partner, and written with the idea that she could give the song away to another artist. Kept in Marela’s hands, it’s powerful and revealing; the percussion crashes into her vocals, and the low-end acts like an undertow, wrestling and pulling at its beat.
Stream Briana Marela’s “Quit” –