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VÏKÆ - Album Review: Love Games Deluxe

26 Nov 2023 // A review by Danica Bryant

Auckland artist VÏKÆ never stops with her busy musical output, with her latest release Love Games Deluxe serving as another welcome entry in her catalogue. It's a project that perfectly encapsulates her brand of singable yet strange, weird yet wonderful, asking you to dance with the threat of dragging you if you resist.

Love Games previously released as a five-track EP last year but is now reimagined as a nine-track deluxe, intriguingly mixing the new tracks in with the old rather than tacking them on to the end as most extended projects do. This maintains a nice sense of flow and drama when listening in order.

I'm Better shudders under the weight of its pulsing club chorus, blended with eerie, dark verses that sees VÏKÆ immediately showcase a vast vocal range. She moves from unsettling highs to smoky lows, then offers up shouts and sneers in the chorus to make it really pack a punch. This track is wordy, but its energetic production makes this feel natural and polished.

Final Breakdown is weird pop at its finest, with a punchy kick drum and everchanging stacked vocals. Here, VÏKÆ paints a vivid picture with her lyrics, of a relationship crumbling in the late night streets. It's followed up by the dramatic title track Love Games. This chorus is rhythmic and fun despite the dark sound, filled with more spooky imagery through distortion and glitchy arcade-style synths. Later, the hook is sampled on the mellow ...Who Would Stay With Me?. Singer-songwriter lyricism detailing a love out of "habit" and "convenience" makes for an incredibly grim tale. VÏKÆ's voice breaks in all the rawest places, relatable in the song's sense of romantic horror.

The remastered Liar then offers up some vulnerable lyrics where VÏKÆ plays into a character obsessively in love. Her growled melodies sell this beautifully. It pairs well with the gentle tempo of S.M.S, a shortened title for the lyric "save myself", where VÏKÆ transforms from a lovelorn girl into a recovering and stronger woman. Hints of religion, spirituality and sobriety make this song's emotion resonate deeply.

Fan favourite Lonely Doll uses a major key, which contrasts much of the album, and a sicky sweet vocal delivery to unsettle listeners in its saccharinity. It's evocative and cinematic, an ironically cheerful ballad dedicated to betrayal in love. That choral hook becomes difficult not to sing along to once you're familiar.

But it's the EDM finale Cold - Demo, still admittedly in demo stage, that makes for one of the collection's most exciting cuts. Tight, inventive rhymes and sharp lyrics build into a quirky DJ-style chorus that makes it tough not to dance. Again, VÏKÆ displays a thrilling variety in her singing, mysterious and light on the bridge, but gritty and fierce on the line, "I don't need a warrior who's dressed up like you". 

Love Games Deluxe is stunningly varied without ever sacrificing VÏKÆ's now signature sound. This is an artist who fully deserves your attention, whether you're a fan of pop, indie, singer-songwriter, house, R&B, or anything and everything in between.


About VÏKÆ

Originally born in Ukraine and seeking refuge in New Zealand post Chernobyl; classically trained musician VïKÆ has done a full 360 dance through the music-sphere. Originally training as an opera singer, VïKÆ switched genres when she felt the need to create art that provokes thoughts, is catchy, exciting and fresh. Finishing her Bachelor of Music (Performance Voice) from the University of Otago (2016) VÏKÆ has finally landed where she describes as feeling ‘most at home’. Personal experiences provide a voice for the voiceless and an homage to the underdogs. Breaking stigmas to showcase the true magic behind closed doors for those living with disabilities and those who suffer from mental health, VÏKÆ is not shy about her was diagnosis with bipolar; saying “being creative is a great form of healing”. VÏKÆ lathers her songs in silvery and powerful vocals and her lyricism is raw, clever and a little peculiar. Taking inspiration from Taylor Swift, Astrud Gilberto, Ella Fitzgerald and traditional Ukrainian instruments, VÏKÆ is certainly one to watch.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for VÏKÆ


Love Games Deluxe
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Love Games
Year: 2022
Type: EP
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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