Takahara Suiko is like an atom bomb that was dropped on to our unsuspecting music scene.
Since debuting with her band of musical misfits and gypsies The Venopian Solitude, she has been on a warpath to effect and re-orientate the status quo.
Her music is in-your-face, quirky and blood-and-guts honest. But the most important thing is that she would have no qualms with making you feel uncomfortable if it means being herself. And people have bought into her Kool-Aid, given that it’s an absolute refreshing change from the largely-overpolite and safe local music scene.
While her band veers their musical allegiances closer to twee pop and modern folk, her VIONA (or Viona Vernett) moniker allows her to experiment with other sounds. “Taka” has often expressed affection for the nu-soul sounds of artists like Kimbra and this track sees her dip her hand into that cookie jar. And what a glorious effort it is indeed.
“Srikandi” is a track that just drives along with little fuss, just sporadic blips and bops keeping the rhythm plodding along. But it’s the infectiously catchy melody planted on top of this that really makes the track. Clocking at just pass 2-minutes, this is one of those tracks that you wish lasted longer.
It’s a track that makes you feel like leaping off your seat to dance and sing-along-to. Except that before you can even start working up a sweat, you are having to reach for the repeat button. And you will be reaching for the repeat button quite a bit.
But Takahara’s repertoire as an artist extends far beyond just guitar-bass-drums-synths. You get a sense that the music may often times be just a means to an end. The end being the overall statement she is making with her music, image and words. She is presenting you not just a mere gesture, but a fully-formed personality.
So Viona offers her not just a chance to play with drum machines but also a chance to experiment with a different personality. Gone is the manic and roaring preacher she usually is in The Venopian Solitude. Viona has less angst. She still wants to see change, but she’s more positive and hopeful about how you should go about it.
She’s doesn’t feel there is a need to wave a flag of battle all the time, that change can come in other ways. This track sees her encouraging womenfolk that they can be their own savior and make a stand on their own. And she’s doing the same. Away from the big sounds and bright lights afforded by her band, there still burns the soul of an artist that can do little wrong at the moment.