Leap of faith. Leap of life. Leap of love. Singer/songwriter Angela Saini’s new EP Leap launches a week from today at the Rivoli.
In the five tracks on Leap – a fusion of pop, funk, Motown, blues and even a bit of alt country – Saini has created a narrative that takes the listener across a lifetime of relationships, including those with lovers/partners and with oneself. “U Turn” opens the record, with a funky pop vibe that comes into the chorus. “You can run away / Change your mind / It’s okay to cross that line” makes for a strong, upbeat anthem about getting out of a rut and turning your life around. “There’s so much more” than a shout out to retail therapy in “Little Black Dress.” It’s a nice follow-up to “U Turn,” with its encouraging call to do something nice for yourself – a celebration of self and positive body image that puts aside magazine images and societal imposition.
“You’re Just That Guy” is a kind of a cheerful break-up song, and feels like a natural segue from the first two tracks into the latter half of the EP, as we follow this evolution of life, self and relationship. This time, she’s out and gone, and moving on – going out into the night with a renewed sense of adventure. The tone here is playful, sexy and sassy. “Stay Here With Me” has so much soul, as Saini sings of new love and connection, and that feeling of wanting to hang on and not let go. The final track, “Something Like I’m Beautiful,” has the sense of an older, long-time love that’s become taken for granted. This is my favourite track on Leap, and one that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Saini perform live with just her guitar backing her up. It’s a bluesy/pop/alt country vibe, and a vulnerable, honest plea to be acknowledged – this is someone who longs to feel special in the eyes of her lover/partner again.
Saini’s vocals are strong and soulful, yet warm and light – and she’s not afraid of bringing a bit of mischief or vulnerability into the performance, giving her lyrics exactly the tone they need. Leap is a collection of catchy tunes that move the listener, both physically and emotionally. Joining Saini on Leap are Tony Rabalao (drums), Sarah Giles (bass), Tony Gare (guitar), Thomas McKay (guitar & keys), John Britton (percussion) and Vanessa James-Locke (back-up vox).
Angela Saini celebrates the launch of Leap on November 14 at the Rivoli – 9 p.m. $8 cover. Guests TBA.