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Erika Sirola (Finland) – Bernadette (sample track from The Four Faces EP)

It’s a very early return for Erika Sirola, she was after all here less than six weeks ago, but I’m quite happy that is the case because she presents quite an intellectual challenge.

It isn’t often that you read in a press release that “(she) first discovered the power of alchemising emotion into art as a young child. Her work is an intersection of musical composition, strong visual environments and tactile crafts. She thrives on provoking and testing the boundaries of change and consistency within her artist catalogue.”

There is even a track by track explanation of what each of the four songs is about. Not unique, but pretty rare all the same.

The EP is “an exploration of the theme of identity…with a playful nod to the psychology of Carl Jung.” The Jungian Archetypes, she says, profoundly influenced her journey of self-exploration to such an extent that they became the foundation of the songs. Together, they represent ‘the four faces,’ with each song telling the story of a character.

I’m rapidly painting a picture in my mind of someone with the cerebral tendencies of the Dane Lydmor, who, when she isn’t debating the erotic scribbling of Anaïs Nin is wrangling over the validity of Proust’s take on who she really is, or how she imagines that would be. All mixed with the dramatic panache of Jenny Hval. You know, these folk really ought to get together and put the world to rights. ‘The Nordic Solution’ they might call themselves.

Jung’s four faces, or archetypes, are the persona, the shadow, the anima/animus, and the self and each of the four tracks deals with one of them. We’ve already run the rule over ‘There was a Boy’, as a single, the one which deals with the persona and which contrasts the ego and the alter ego.

I did consider selecting the third track, ‘Golden girl’ as the sample track, one which “explores the struggle to connect with one’s inherent femininity and masculinity in the quest for balance.” Let’s just say that would be topical.

Or the ultimate one, ‘A child’, which encourages perseverance in the continuous journey of becoming what we are destined to become from the beginning.

But I opted for ‘Bernadette’, which I believe was the lead single, and which deals with the darkness within us that we prefer not to acknowledge and which is based on the character of a woman named Bernadette, inspired by a painting by Đinh Ý Nhi.

So it’s alter ego time again I suppose and in this instance,

“She’ll stare at you for hours in the shower while you wash her off your face”.

“Walks in a line but her mind is all over the place”

“Her hair is black as cats and you could watch her walk around for days

“She keeps her mouth so closed when she has oh so much to say”.

These are smart lyrics. That last line is right up there with Jenny Lewis’ “There’s blood in my mouth ’cause I’ve been biting my tongue all week/I keep on talkin’ trash but I never say anything”, from Rilo Kiley’s ‘Portions for foxes’. Indeed it is diametrically the opposite I guess.

And then, “I’d love for her to talk to me but I know that there’s just too much to ask”

All very mysterious and pretty much what you’d expect from a song based on a painting by a Vietnamese artist who ignored gender altogether in her early work and who refused to be recognised as a ‘female artist’ as if Erika is inviting us to put aside any preconceptions at all as to her own identity.

Does that sound sensible or did I just go up my own arse?

Musically, her ‘style’ isn’t at all easy to identify. It’s intelligent electronica, but totally undanceable, delivered in a slightly odd staccato metre and seemingly with a melange of jazz and funk as a side dish, and with even a dash of soulful pop.

Vocally, she is another artist who reminds me of Fiona Apple if only because of that sultry alto  

I’m excited about this artist. I want to hear her on 6Music. Now.

Find her on:


Facebook: (appears to be a private account)


One Response

  1. I just love that she has found her own voice, after starting as a singer for others – Kaskade, DIMA, Robin Schulz. I want to hear more now from someone who is herself the sum of the four songs, or archetypes.

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