A captivating whirlwind of a heartfelt album, SPELLLING’s ‘Mazy Fly’ offers a carefully-crafted dose of musical mysticism.
Having been quoted as drawing inspirations “from messages in her dreams,” Chrystia Cabral, who goes by SPELLLING, conjures forth a very cerebral soundscape; one filled with flashes of light shining out from the shadowy scene, every inch of which she has carefully crafted.
Stream: ‘Mazy Fly’ – SPELLLING
Released February 22, 2019 via Sacred Bones Records, Spellling’s sophomore album Mazy Fly is set to follow the journey of an imaginary figure made out to be Cabral’s dog (but gifted with wings) as it floats through a non-linear timeline. There is a lot to be unraveled through her musical mysticism, yet in doing so, one might find the task inconsequential; there is more to be enjoyed in simply getting lost.
Mazy Fly opens with “Red,” a track mainly comprised of static, superimposed with vocal overlays, wavering high-pitched keys and, at one point, what can only be described as a ray gun. It certainly teases at what is to come yet brings to question whether or not it was needed once the next track, “Haunted Water” kicks off.
The absolute second it begins, the track captivates. This glitch-pop-meets-disco type production topped with Cabral’s vocal strength is beyond gorgeous. She cries, “I am your faith, but it’s not enough to build a bridge over haunted water,” elongating almost every syllable, stressing an other-worldly desire that touches on both colonialism and slavery in America’s past; how it still trickles through to modern times. As the song draws to a close the bass becomes more and more prevalent, allowing for a sense of structure within the many different ideas Spellling has played out for us.
“Hard to Please” features a ghostly howl that echoes louder throughout, perhaps in keeping with the message delivered in “Haunted Water,” Cabral grants a voice to the voiceless in a track comprised of delightful synths; which she follows up in serving strong Minnie Riperton “Lovin’ You” vibes on the track “Golden Numbers.”
Side A to Mazy Fly ends on the third and final single leading up to the album’s release, “Under the Sun” – a track that acts as the album’s centerpiece. It holds a very cold and evocative production that dances around elegantly as Cabral brings to image this hopeful sensation of something that is unlikely to come:
Some night on the planet dawn
I hope we have our lucky one
one day, under the sun
In time beyond there’s nothing wrong
yesterday has came and gone
one day, under the sun
It is a dreamscape of a wanted reality; a knowing of something that might truly come to us, but only ever in our sleep.
Side B kicks off with “Real Fun,” an aptly named track, as the second half of the album appears more accessible and a little less avant-garde (trust me, only a little less). “Are you ready for some real fun?” she asks of us, as the guitar makes its main feature for the first time in the album, wailing with a heavy wah-wah effect as a cloud of darkness befalls over that dream she painted prior. Having stated a previous inspiration from “goth rodeos,” this track truly feels like whatever that would (and does) possibly entail.
The “Hard to Please (Reprise)” offers up a true aptitude of Cabral’s voice. While the effects placed upon it throughout the album are fitting, hearing what SPELLLING can do with little to no editing or production work is magnificent.
Ending with a bang is something Mazy Fly does quite literally: With “Secret Threads” and “Afterlife” singing the album out, the track “Dirty Desert Dreams” is a bombastic danceable joy that puts a full drum kit to terrific use as it freestyles over the witch-pop aesthetic that is on display. This track has easily the most replay value and calls to mind that of experimental artist King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Overall, SPELLLING’s sophomore album is going to take a couple of listens before it begins to open up. It’s not easy listening, but it is a world where, once you’re invested, you will not find yourself able to escape. Mazy Fly is a captivating whirlwind of a heartfelt album, that clearly took a significant time to fully craft, and that is what makes music in itself ever so beautiful.
— — — —
📸 © Sacred Bones Records