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  • Writer's pictureSpyros Psarras

Album Review: Oceans Apart | Chris Elle

After a tough year of loss, silence and redefining my whole existence, I welcome you to my beloved Sanctum once more to present an artist I share my roots with in a way. Chris Elle comes from Zakynthos but brings a sound that concerns the whole world and begs to be discovered and enjoyed by as many souls as possible. Especially the audience of Sevdaliza, Conan Osiris or even Korfian :P Many treasures lie on this ocean floor waiting to be salvaged so let’s dive right into it.

The haunting humming of the album's opener titled ‘Plew’ meaning ‘Sail’ transfers the listener into a realm where the Ionian Sea coexists with the mystical desert in harmony and fades into ‘Oceans Apart’. The first full track is preparing the ground for a grandiose experience breeding Elle’s piercing vocals, rich instrumentation and echoing harmonies. The production level is jaw dropping considering Elle’s young age and so is the mature persona presented visually, lyrically and musically. Moving on to ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’, a heartfelt ballad about the way true love and distance is perceived. The output here is deeply emotional, expressed over mesmerizing chords that exhibit the artist’s Greek origin gracefully.

The following ‘You Won’t Find Me’ adds some synths and playful bass to the equation, giving off an experimental Pop vibe in the likes of Lorde while ‘One Day’ offers a more esoteric experience where Elle exposes the most private corners of their heart. So does the highly sentimental ‘Releasing Myself’ where the artist finds power in letting go and acceptance, reaching a point of catharsis that is successfully passed down to the listener and can definitely result to tears. ‘Releasing Myself’ feels like the most fragile moment of the album up to this point. ‘The Dream We Are After’ is an adorable piece, young and romantic where the piano meets Elle’s voice to create a transcending experience, like flying among the stars in the night sky. And then it all flows into ‘Eyes Never Meet’ seamlessly adding a strong touch of tradition from the Ionian Islands.

Having been born and raised in Corfu, I’m truly in awe witnessing this unique blend of contemporary and folk music unfolding before me and I can only feel proud to be writing about Chris Elle’s debut. ‘Hold Me Close’ takes this mood to the max before the kick of ‘Love Me’ shakes things up and awakens the body, making it move to its alluring rhythm and so does the sexy ‘Alone’ where the artist is building more upbeat soundscapes before delivering the superb ‘Sto Fws’, Greek for ‘Into the Light’. An intercourse between dark verses and bright choruses under Elle’s enchanting harmonizing makes one of the most powerful lead singles I’ve listened to in a while.

Little before the end of this journey we have ‘Easy to be Loved’, an alternative pop piece with a temperament similar to the earlier work of Billie Eilish (Don’t Smile at me). Elle approaches music in a new manner, adding electronic drum snares, uplifting chord melodies and celebratory horns while keeping the cohesiveness of the album intact. The closing ‘Telos Kai Arxh’ meaning ‘End and beginning’ feels like a melancholic departure that goes beyond the artist’s earthly hypostasis and lets the listener give their own shape and form to the track.

In a nutshell, Oceans Apart is a love album that dwells around distance and loneliness, longing and discovering, with Elle creating a space where they can be powerful through their vulnerability. What shines the most here is the excellence in music production as well as the direction towards an eccentric sound that has every right to be heard globally. To have a debut as robust, honest and professional as Oceans Apart is a true blessing for an artist and their audience. The Sanctum bows to all the effort and knowledge, heart and tears that soak this body of work from start to finish and is proud to host Chris Elle’s work now and forever.

Listen to Oceans Apart here:


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