WE REVIEW THE NEW EP FROM BETTA SALVAN – ZODIAC SIGNS PT.1
Writing an album with twelve songs, one for each of the dozen astrological signs that make up the zodiac, is ordinarily the type of endeavour reserved for fanciful progressive rock bands. Betta Salvan thinks otherwise.
Pop and R&B suaveness is her specialty. With this, she crafts Zodiac Signs Pt.1, six songs representing as many star signs. This EP’s bold horoscopic vision is curious. Theoretically the six signs denoted by these songs should cover half of the human experience.
What Salvan therefore teaches us is the human experience is wild. Opener ‘Aeries: The Killer Barbie’ presents a contrast. Those with this sign are ‘rough’ but also ‘really friendly’. ‘I’m a fighter, but also a barbie’ Salvan says, in a bizarre metaphor for the duality of her disposition.
Mirroring this is the contrast between her imposing vocals and the playful dance backing. Duality is explored again but less successfully on ‘Gemini: The Bipolar,’ where lyrics conflate the star sign and the mental health condition in an ill-considered manner, representing neither insightfully.
At her best Salvan is fun. ‘Taurus’s Loyalty’ is brash and assured. Salvan sings of how ‘loyalty is the real deal.’ She appears to yearn for this trait, delivering the EP’s catchiest chorus in the process.
Instrumental mercuriality persists with ‘Leo: Fake It ‘Til You Make It.’ Latin American instrumental allusions are included without force, blending into the EP’s sonic structure. She’s self-assured too. ‘When I arrive, everybody looks at me’ she offhandedly remarks with a confident swagger.
‘Cancer, Wanna Know Them?’ is self-reflective. Torn between a want for companionship and the fear of abandonment, it’s a stark contrast to the EP’s audacious opening.
‘Virgo: Live and Risk’ continues the theme of contrast that runs throughout the EP. It neatly concludes what is a project of dichotomies, as Salvan navigates each sign uniquely. Her conceptuality may be imperfect but the world she creates is fantastical and creative all the same.