All Around Us
Singer-songwriter Briana Marela pulls off quite the feat on All Around Us, managing to make a record that simultaneously sounds and feels otherworldly and intimate. Her exploration of the ties that bind us—romance, family, friendship—is done with subtle care and is honest and personal while remaining universally relatable. Guided by an ambient pop sensibility, tracks like “I Don't Belong to You” and “Surrender” have a euphoric power about them that is irresistible (the latter sounds like an outtake from Jillian Edwards' Headfirst record). The Enya-like “Dani” stands as the highlight for both its emotional depth and the vast sonic space the song fills. Marela's alternately sprightly and angelic vocals (get a load of her melodious intro in the first minute or so of “Everything Is New”) create a siren song you won't be able to refuse. All Around Us is, simply put, a marvelous album, and it's one you'll be talking about long after you've finished listening to it.