Singer-songwriter Dennis Große-Plankermann has arrived to take the stage as Vava Quail in his debut album “Beloved Ashes.” with a title track that is as sentimental in its lyrics as the music is transcendently beautiful. While he now calls Berlin his home, his music paints a picture of the world that shaped him.
He delivers a truly emotional album with heavy weight behind every lyric. In the titular track “Beloved Ashes” Quail recalls his experience revisiting his hometown as an adult. While what he saw around every corner invoked strong memories for him, he somehow simultaneously recognized nothing at all seeing it through the lens of its current state.
He wonders if his memories, vivid as they may seem, could somehow be wrong, singing “Was it all in my dreams, all those stories? Those pictures escape me at day, but haunt me at night.”
While the lyrics read like poetry, they are only upstaged by the quality of Quail’s voice and musicianship. The majority of the song consists of only him in front of his piano, with a few synthetic embellishments added for aural flavor. As echoing vocals introduce the song, it quickly builds.
Quail’s impressive vocal range is showcased largely through his vocal harmonies that appear just short of a minute in. He overlays tracks of his own vocals harmonizing on top of each other, each part exploring their own complicated path but uniting to create a powerful piece that is nothing short of transcendent. All too soon, it resolves with all voices becoming one, reminding us all that life is too short to not live with the passion this music brings into the world.
Reviewed by Nick Gumas
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