Fans of Lianne La Havas will swoon over San Antonio raised, Austin, Texas based Christelle Bofale’s debut EP Swim Team. Everything — from the pitch and warm tone of Bofale’s voice, to the intricately layered production of her vocals, to her soulful guitar playing and rich chords — calls to mind, but equally distinguishes itself, from La Havas’ similarly intoxicating blend of soul, indie rock, and R&B.
Before even the standout Origami Dreams (the EP’s hookiest, most tightly constructed, pop-sounding track), this record grabbed me at once with the slow, spacious lead track Moving On, Getting On.
It opens with a haunting guitar line of warped, slightly bent notes over which Bofale’s initially hushed vocals drift and then gain in strength and texture. The sonic blend of all of this is so captivating that it took me multiple listens to register that, over three minutes and eighteen seconds, there are only six lyric lines.
Most of the songs on Swim Team are like this: similarly spare lyrics that nevertheless hit on big, dominant themes of love (generally lost), self-doubt, and vulnerability and are set within consistently lush, atmospheric musical arrangements.
That it all feels incredibly intimate is a testament to the care and craft Bofale put into this album, a truly strong first outing. Get to know her!