The first thing you notice about Lithium is the up-front lead vocal – no wallpaper voices here, thank you. The second thing is the slick production that seems effortlessly contemporary and yet references the 70s and 80s with the coolest of nods. The minimal, but tasteful use of technology on the treated vocals adds depth and intelligence to a song bursting at the seams with ideas, warmth and real soul.
Vocally, Lithium is extremely accomplished. Moving between ethereal and elfin one moment, and robust speaker-busting bombast the next (and stopping off at most colours in-between!), it’s very clear that Dani Sylvia knows her way around her instrument. Passion and vulnerability are vying for the listener’s attention, and then her voice is layered up to spectacular effect where harmonies are piled atop one another to emphasise and comfort and enhance, and melodies and hooks build to weave in and around each other.
The glossy, complex production boasts bubbling, pulsing washes of synth that are gluing everything together, and a popping slap bass that punctuates the melodies with an assured sense of warmth and groove that help make Lithium a sugary aural delight.
The pre-chorus calls to mind Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal in some strange way, but there’s a pulse to the vocal harmony in this section that creates a sense of wistfulness – as well as the slightly sinister edge that helps strike an original flavour. In fact, there’s a tricky set of emotions to juggle throughout, and the savvy lyric does a terrific job of keeping the narrative on track.
Grown up pop with an electro heart, driving rhythm and enough raw emotional connection to melt the most cynical of hearts, Lithium is impressive indeed.