Selofan – Vitrioli
As Selofan’s fifth studio album, Vitrioli, from 2018, is a testament to the tragedy of life. The Greek duo, Joanna Pavlidou and Dimitris Pavlidis, who recorded the album in the Fabrika Records home studio, continue on in their poetic, but heartbreaking, music set to a dance beat. Between languages (Greek, English, German, and Spanish), Selofan feels on the brink of mania with Vitroli. However, the madness is controlled, the songs are restrained hysterics that culminate into the alchemic perfection of the band’s specific moody sound.
From synthpop to synthpunk elements, the twelve-track LP leads listeners through dark corridors and into haunted, empty beds. There is a resignation to a doomed destiny with Vitroli—a trait that connects all Selofan releases—as a bitter pain and loneliness that cannot, or will not, subside.
The album begins with “Give Me a Reason” whose lyrics feel universal in this day and age: Give me a reason, to get out of bed / I could just watch the ceiling instead. Its heartbreak is profound as bells and voice pads echo under Joanna’s voice. The adjacent music video for the song was directed by Dimitris Chaz Lee, and the band describes the video as “depicting the fragile nature, conflicts, emotional demands, and vulnerability of each person in a relationship.”
“Billie Was a Vampire” is a story about an undead creature who works at a nightclub followed by the urgency of “Black Box.” Brass sounds moan against the fast beat and suggest a frenzied need to escape.
“I’m Addicted” became the second single for the LP. I am addicted, you are mine, Joanna demands of the lover. The music video, also directed by Dimitris Chaz Lee, depicts a clean, white photoshoot primed for the most beautiful creatures of the Athenian wave scene. Alex Macharias, from the legendary Greek band In Trance 95, acts as the photographer for the session, as the models pose and flail under the bright bulbs. The director states: “Addiction is a mental state, something inside all of us. It altered our perception and created a parallel world of avant-garde beings and flashy lights making us part of this everlasting bond.”
Willst du mit mir tanzen? asks “Ist Die Liebe Tot.” The song marches on in a strict tempo as Dimitris’ vocals bellow from below. “Un Amor Eterno” continues on in the vampire theme, as tributes to true love are whispered out into the ether.
“The Language of Love” is a signature Selofan track. With simplistic elements, it is both sad and completely beautiful as it jerks the heart to and fro. A sax solo follows with the song, “Living Scandal,” harkening back to the prominent use of the instrument in their 2017 LP, Cine Romance. The mood created with the synth and the sax is emotional and tragic, a concoction the band has mastered so well.
With the song “Βιτριολι (Vitriol),” emotions continue to run rampant with the prominence of piano and bass with post-punk elements. The band gives listeners no reprieve as “Φουξια Χαμελαιων (Fouchsia Chameleon)” is just as heartbreaking—language is of no matter when such sorrowful sentiments are felt within the music.
“Η Μοναξια ΕΙναι Της Μοδας (Loneliness Is Fashion)” speaks about the ritual of going out, of drinking and dancing until the first light of the next day. Despite the communal activities, there is still a loneliness that is palpable—together, alone. Finally, Vitrioli ends with a cover of the mythical Polish post-punk band, Siekiera. “Υστερία (Hysteria)” is a hypnotic dance track that’s a fitting choice for the temperament of the album, as its aggressive beat drills and destroys.