French-Korean songstress Claire Chicha and producer David Marinelli make up spill tab, the rapidly rising, forward-thinking alt-pop duo. Together, they dissolve any fathomable genre boundaries to produce music that is way beyond the trendy, bedroom-pop feel of today’s indie scene.
Oatmilk, spill tab's first-ever EP, solidifies their musicianship as unparalleled. Each song checks in under two minutes each, like four teasers to what both Chicha and Marinelli can do. “I’m mentally smoking a hand-rolled cigarette when I write songs in French,” Chicha told Dork earlier this month, radiating a badass, yet sensitive identity. Chicha’s lyrics are intimate in exactly the way the word is defined, not just softly sung words that sound like they’re coming from the next bedroom over. Her songwriting is a product of her own life, containing bits and pieces of dramatized feelings that bloom alongside Marinelli’s production effortlessly.
The first track “Calvaire,” sung entirely in French, throws layered vocals into an electronic soundscape. You could hear it in a club or in your car, it doesn’t matter—the song fits each environment perfectly. Listeners are moved through unexpected sounds as Marinelli mutes vocals and brings them back alongside new, steady synths.
“Cotton Candy” starts as an acoustic ballad, but with spill tab, we expect that to not last too long: halfway through, Chicha’s vocals become distorted alongside her ukulele and synths become overwhelming, swirling around before eventually draining out. The song ends with a muted voice talking about a relationship status, completing the story Chicha is attempting to tell––an experimental way to bring the song to a close. "Cotton Candy" fades right into the seductive "Santé," an alluring track with a bouncing bass line that contributes to its mysterious atmosphere.
Co-produced by Marinelli and Chicha, “Name” is the track closest to a pop song. Opening with a strong drum sound, Chicha describes a failing relationship in which she would “rather try and dry off in a hurricane” than give her partner back their first name. For her, that begins the process of reverting back to being strangers––starting to call someone who was once a close companion by their formal name.
Oatmilk is a 4-song EP that encapsulates all of spill tab’s 2020 releases. It’s a tease, but proves that the duo are leading the way for DIY artists with their clean electronic production and bilingual lyricism.