Daria Dzurik’s quirky idiosyncrasies and mischievous charm carry her debut effort, Calliope. A fetching songbird with a pair of pipes and a fair for theatrics, Dzurik takes pleasure in toying with hearts: “I’m indispensable to you,” she taunts on “Indispensable” before belting, “Until I’m outta here.” The young chanteuse sings with a spunky, girlish ring in her voice that gives her melodies a playful, light-hearted feel, even when they sting.
Musically, the album blends punchy pop and whimsical sing-song with spices from the Big Easy. Nods to Crescent City funk and R&B pop up in almost every cut. It’s a true culture collision, the distillation of vintage sounds set to the diary of a millennial mademoiselle. But it doesn’t come off without a hitch. On the first few numbers, Dzurik’s vocals seem to get swallowed in the mix, almost submerged under the jangle. Still, the minimalist, rough-around-the-edges production and Dzurik’s full-throated verses maintain an authentic vibe that settles perfectly into the rolling piano triplets and “ooh-wha-oohs” of the breakup ballad, “Remind Me of You,” a springboard for the punk-y, ska shenanigans of “Don’t Look Now.”
Lyrically, Dzurik’s stories take just as many twist and turns as her band’s spry flings. “I got a bed that’s ft for a queen, like me / You can take it away any day / There’s no way it was made for just me,” she sings atop the synth-bass strut of “Wake Up Alone.” Even when’s she’s pining for the not-so-perfect bf (“Somebody”) or putting off a pitiful breakup (“I’m Going Home”), she keeps up her coy, kittenish composure. Eventually, she let’s her guard down on the sweet yet satiric “Slowly Sinking,” the album’s most revealing number. But she’s back to playing the muse again on the closer, a duet with rapper JusKwam, “Every Morning,” Calliope’s biggest catch.