LIVE REVIEW: Syvia Record Release Show at Cameo Gallery

Syvia • Photo by Martin Ahlgren & Sarah Ko

Syvia • Photo by Martin Ahlgren & Sarah Ko

The winds were violent Sunday night in Williamsburg. It felt like no matter what you were wearing it was too little. The wind cut right through your clothing. Aside from bars that I passed on my way to Cameo Gallery, not many people were out at 8PM. Catching my breath inside the warm front restaurant, Jify’s, I made my way toward the pulsing back room where the opener, Cthulhu Fantasy, were just finishing up. Their carnal rhythms backing melodic electronic music was energetic and they seemed to wake up the crowd from Sunday fog brain, preparing us for the headliners, Syvia.

The band took almost no time setting up, looking polished and ready to start. Ruth smiled sweetly holding her mic and bracing her right hand on the Moog in front of her. From the moment they started, though, that sweetness melted into a fierce, driving force in a heartbeat. It was clear at the onset that this band of friends have perfected their dynamics in their live performance. The beats are bold and in-your-face, playing with tempo changes here and there, offering a refreshing take on electropop. The guitar and synths play off of one another, adding dark melodic elements while strumming double-time in infectious ’80s tones. Kim Wilde “Kids in America” era came to mind, but the band in front of me wasn’t just about having fun. There is just as much love as there is justice and meaning sought in their lyrics. And there are sweeping shadows of pain and loss moving in their midst.

In “Invincible”, Syvia explore that kind of love-seeking nostalgia that teenagers feel for the first time. The song is slow, sensual and honest, easily a favorite for fans; it is infectious with the right amount of groove that’s impossible not to dance to. “On the Dance Floor” hit us with even more loud and powerful dynamics. From Ruth’s bold vocals to the driving kick drum, Syvia had the entire floor in their hands, eyes closed, bouncing alone or dancing in pairs.

Their last song (before a begged encore) was “Two Homes”, a single that’s been steadily garnering followers on Soundcloud and via excited blog posts. It’s a great single for so many reasons, but the lyrics are gripping and reach to the heart of this listener, full of accurate depictions of loss and loneliness that are equally represented in the instrumentation. I love its cavernous sound, how the familiar reverb of ancient favorites are married here with momentous crescendos. It closes with a crashing release and something about it, maybe the staggering tempos that seem to fall apart so jarringly, feels cathartic. A perfect ending.

Syvia released their debut album FWD on Tuesday, February 24th, and you can purchase it right here.