Neria features a timeless, classic cadence on the soulful “Embrace”. She sidesteps trendiness for something transcendental. Lyrics explore the existential, the fleeting relationships, the yearning for more, there is a grace to be found. Her voice serves as the very anchor of the album. Verses intermingle and are woven together to craft something that feels so delightful to simply surrender to, for her vision is a highly unique one, one that refuses to adhere to any specific genre. Within the scope of the pieces, she tenderly touches upon some of the psychedelic folk of the 60s alongside its more recent incarnations that have incorporated chamber pop.
References abound, and I am more than happy to report there is a nod towards Joanna Newsom’s epic, stately compositions. Like Joanna, Neria incorporates a great degree of classical influences without it being overbearing. Rather, the strings and clever arrangements further punctuate the power of her words. Elements of Van Dyke Parks can be found in some of the more playful pieces on the album, for the ear for melody has a bit of a unique tact throughout. On the subtler side of things, she brings lessons learned from Vashti Bunyan’s intimate works. When these two, the old school and new school influences intersect Neria’s voice helps to bring them altogether into something truly cohesive, transportive even.
Light adorns the gentle acoustic guitar strings of the kind opener “Entwined”. The establishment of the groove has a naturalistic hue to it, with even the bass providing a sense of warmth. Akin to a grand journey comes the weaving traveling experience of “Mirror”. With a bit of a Bossa Nova jazz flair comes the day dream of “Running Blind”. Easily the highlight of the album, “Running Blind” has a kindness to it, a patience that appears to be wearing a bit thin. Percussion adds to the tactile sensibility of “Blessing In Disguise” with the strings singing out so sweetly. Carefully unspooling is the lush ambience of “Blank Page”.
Spry rhythms take shape on the determined “Keep Going”. Strong nods to the first Fleet Foxes album emerge with the honeyed bliss of “Sunbird”. Full of pastoral imagery, there is so much kindness to be found within the narrative. The small details are magnified tremendously on the gracious “Shooting Star”. “Embrace” brings things to a wonderful, hopeful close.
“Embrace” proves to be a blissful journey, one that unfurls with an uncanny sense of place, proving Neria to be a remarkable gifted storyteller able to imbue her stories with a sense of poetry.