By Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor
In a world where the Internet gives fair exposure to women musicians but concert venues have been a little slower on the uptake, Long-Island-based artist SEE’s current residency at Arlene’s Grocery is a sight for sore eyes. Just after her debut EP “Ties” dropped, Washington Square News got the chance to check out one of her shows.
The performance was just four songs – nearly the entire EP, in fact. But SEE, born Carly Ridini, captivated the audience the entire time. Her vocals lean toward a pop-punk styling with the power boasted by the genre’s attitude and the pitch control of a practiced professional. (That’s no surprise, since her career began at 15 and quickly earned her a record deal at Blue Elan Records.) With a backing band of a bassist, a guitarist, a keyboard player, and a drummer, not to mention her own guitar, her sound was wonderfully filled out. None of the songs ever felt wanting for harmony or complexity.
The standout of the night was her single, “Potions.” With eerie vocals and floating runs, the track opens into a sound reminiscent of PVRIS’ darkly flavored punk. The show’s sound mix muddled the lyrics a bit, so not all of the words were able to be heard, but with Ridini’s ability to hit her notes and reinforce them with a passion one might not expect from her mostly static stance on-stage, the music hardly needed to have words at all. (And as for the lack of jumping about, it was a 90-degree day; one can hardly blame anyone for not wanting to move any more than is necessary.) The whole band, in fact, was very clearly passionate about the songs. The bassist in particular looked as if he were having a spiritual experience with each song he played.
Ridini’s talent both for singing and for songwriting were undeniable, and could not have failed to enchant the audience. The applause seemed to grow stronger after each song. Her haunting soprano will be stuck in listeners’ heads for hours after, in moments of silence and moments of frenetic happenings. And it’s to our good luck that her residency continues throughout the month of August – she’ll be back at Arlene’s Grocery for several weeks to come.
Catch SEE at Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side at 95 Stanton Street on July 21st and 28th, as well as the Amity Teen Center in Woodbridge, CT on August 5th. Stream her debut EP “Ties” here. Find her on Facebook | Web | Twitter | Instagram