It would be tempting, upon hearing the opening title track of Brazilian, Berlin-based Dillonâ€™s debut This Silence Kills, to compare her to Bjork, ever the archetypal conceptual-experimental female pop performer (and donâ€™t try to tell to me about Nicki Minaj). Thereâ€™s a similar lushness, with electronic blips and squeals, sensual imagery and impassioned vocals, and thoughtful chamber-inflected arrangements.Â But this comparison would do a disservice to both artists, because Dillonâ€™s strengths are quite different from those of her Icelandic counterpart, promising but somehow still unformed.
On â€śTip Tapping,â€ť she channels the broken-down carnival vibe of CocoRosie, complete with busky horn arrangements. Elsewhere, subtly clipped digital vocals jive with piano and harp ballads, as on â€śThirteen Thirtyfive.â€ť Amidst the eerie darkness of this tune, girlish metaphors like â€śyou turn my legs into spaghettiâ€ť recall the waifish early songs of Joanna Newsom. There are less adult elements here as well. After a more abstract middle passage, the puzzlingly surreal and childlike â€śHey Beauâ€ť talks about a crystal of some kind thatâ€™s been stolen by pirates, with a chorus repeating, â€śthe robots are gonna help us find the crystal.â€ť
As the album goes on, Dillonâ€™s instinct for the Now â€“ for channeling what other are people are doing musically â€“ becomes clear, although with occasionally flat results like the electro-indie-pop coffee-shop fodder â€śYour Flesh Against Mine.â€ť Although that track isnâ€™t her best, it combines current trends in reflective indie rock, which is quieting and adding electronic, off-kilter elements as its scene splinters further, waiting for the next big piece to break off. Maybe Dillon is on the cusp of that break, but it may take her a couple more turns at the wheel for us to know for sure, and you know how that goes these days. Good luck to her.