Descending from the country of Poland, Brodka (Monika Brodka) broke out into the music world after winning the third season of Polish Pop Idol in 2004. Having already released three previously acclaimed albums, Clashes is her first album released in English; while studying classical music as a child, Brodka also listened to death metal and grunge bands which significantly influences her sound. Haunting and dramatic instrumentals accompany her delicate vocals throughout the entirety of the album, nailing the juxtaposition of uniting dark and soft elements.
Her strong orchestral and avant-garde approach to music is what differentiates herself among current pop artists and the genre as a whole. Her vocal style is similar to the likes of Lana Del Rey and Radiation City possessing a romantic, whimsical voice that seamlessly slows from one range to the next. This is one of those albums you must be in the mood for to truly appreciate her point of view and musical elements where sinister, melancholy sounds meets chaotic alternative.
The first track “Mirror Mirror,” emerges with soft, echoing vocals accompanied by eerie ballerina music box sounds. “Horses” has a more structured alternative-pop vibe with a catchy rhythm. “Santa Muerte” has an traditional folk cadence to it that showcases her experimentalism with clashing instruments.
The album then takes a darker turn in “Can’t Wait for War” that has a strong presence of brass instruments and snare drums to mimic the effect of a march to war, like the title suggests. Death and spiritual undertones emerge in “Funeral” giving a nod to her death metal/punk influences with the bold sounds of the organ and snare drum that channels a serious Adam’s Family and Dracula vibe; “Holy Holes” is similar with exaggerated vocals and electric guitar.
The last half of Clashes lightens up a bit with “Up in the Hill” that stands out among the rest on the album with a more main stream sound with acoustic guitar and upbeat vocals that creates a fun pop-rock track. “My Name is Youth” is a classic chaotic grunge inspired song with shouty, repetitive vocals, heavy drums, and electric guitar.
The album winds down again into obscurity with the track “Kyrie”. “Hamlet” is a true theatrical piece with bold orchestral dramatic elements and pitfalls that serves as the climax of of the album. The last track on the album, “Dreamstreamextreme” is a whimsical and lovely ending that weaves together the rollercoaster of sounds and emotions of the album. Brodka proves she is an artist who does not conform to the norm and is not afraid to experiment. Her style is a perfect blend of a gothic and moody indie with a dramatic grunge edge.
Release Date: May 13, 2016
Run Time: ~37 minutes
3. Santa Muerte
4. Can’t Wait For War
5. Holy Holes6. Haiti
8. Up In The Hill
9. My Name Is Youth