Monique Angele’s second EP is elegant, balletic, soulful, punchy and foot-stomping all at once. Less operatic than her first self-titled EP, the beauty and range of her voice is still unavoidable, as is her piano playing. Add in some smart percussion and well-timed, minimalist strings, and the result is four tracks that fit together nicely, showcasing a classical/pop/soul fusion that seems to drift whimsically at times and focus sharply at others. The production is crisp and balanced; piano, vocals, percussion and strings flow seamlessly together and complement each other wonderfully throughout the EP.
The EP opens with the self-titled track “Answers”, sending the listener off into a surrealistic realm of fantasy and open possibility. Soft, quick, subtle piano couples with her angelic voice, and we’re quite literally “floating in the mind / searching the answers to find…” In come the percussion and strings with a build-up you can almost inhale as you soar and glide gently down towards the end of the song.
The next track, “Mirror”, descends from the floating whimsy of “Answers” into a darker, gothic tone. A mysteriously juicy piano composition lurks just below her towering vocals, and she sings with a gritty passion that at times is reminiscent of Evanescence, but much better. “Mirror” is a reeling, impassioned song urging for self-reflection in the aftermath of something very ugly, and the musical arraignment perfectly complements the lyrics.
From here we move into “You Know”, a soulful, gospel song stripped down to just Angele and her piano. Her vocals are layered into a subtle harmony that sync well with the delicate sound of the piano. Tori Amos and even some Elton John come to mind when listening to “You Know”. It’s uplifting, straightforward and inspiring.
The last song on the EP, “Complete”, features some punchy piano and Angele’s signature vocal flexibility. It’s the type of song audiences would clap along to, with drums that kick in sporadically and persuasively, and background clapping at points throughout the track. One of the more “poppy” songs on the EP, it still manages to retain her classical background and is infused with an infectious energy that puts a good finishing touch on a very interesting and dynamic set of songs.
In the end, “Answers” is a follow up EP that doesn’t disappoint. If you liked Monique Angele’s first EP, you will find a lot to love about this one. It offers a range of tones and stylistic manipulations, fusing together classical, pop, gothic and gospel styles to create a unique musical experience that can be listened to repeatedly. Aside from some minor clichés, the lyrics are inspiring and blend nicely into the ebb and flow of the musical compositions. And her voice. Her voice alone is worth the cost of admission.