With us having a look at Poland’s best and brightest last week, it only seems fair to move on to their EURO 2012 co-hosts Ukraine.
Again dominated by home-grown artists, Ukraine shares a lot of Poland’s taste for pop and rock, but the music’s sound is far closer to Russia’s crowd than their neighbours to the West.
Among one of the big English speaking groups in Ukraine, Pur:Pur are one of the most promising and entrancing on the Ukrainian scene.
Alternating whether they sing in English or Russian, Pur:Pur’s special ingredient is vocalist Nata Smirina, who processes a truly special voice. More sonorous than Diana Vickers, it’s a wonderful, breezy accompaniment to the poetic and sweet lyrics that run throughout their collection.
Pur:Pur are a very fluid outfit, either operating as an acoustic trio or with a full band generating two very different approaches to the light, vivacious pop they strive too, with the full band achieving a smoother, almost jazz-lounge like sound
With as much delicate, whimsical and smile-inducing ability as Regina Specktor in either form, Pur:Pur are a positive delight to listen to and will surely brighten up any day.
Aesthetic Education are clearly influenced by the wave of post-Britpop artists, with their music sounding like a mix of a more emotionally earnest version of The Hoosiers and Editors.
That’s not to say that Aesthetic Education are a one trick pony, with the group routinely bringing in drips and drabs of other genres in order to achieve their goals.
While it may at times seem like a kitchen sink approach (something that was calmed down between the bands two albums), it keeps their two albums fresh and interesting throughout.
While the band haven’t put out a record since 2007, moving more in to the producing side of the music world, their two albums (2004’s Face Reading and 2007’s Werewolf) remain a great listen.
Moving genre completely, we come to S.K.A.Y (that’s the closest translation from the original Cyrillic alphabet), who having formed in 2001 have become one of Ukraine’s biggest rock bands, scooping up the awards for Best Rock Band, Best Album and Best Vocalist of the Year at the 2008 Ukrainian Music Awards.
To put it bluntly, the awards are justified, as S.K.A.Y are an excellent slice of western inspired rock, drawing more from the American school of radio-rockers than the traditional, darker, Russian avenues.
Having shot to prominence after appearing on TV show Fresh Blood, S.K.A.Y have been a chart mainstay, with the band having had number one hits off of both their first and second albums in 2006 and 2007.
With each of their three albums, S.K.A.Y have managed the impressive feat of maturing and honing their sound each time, with their latest album, simply titled ‘!’ displaying a truly accomplished, if slightly smoothed off, rock band, regardless of language.
For those though wanting to slow it down more than touch from S.K.A.Y though is Endless Melancholy, a musical project just as sunshiny as it says on the tin.
Started by self-taut musician Oleksii Sakevych, Endless Melancholy is a musical project to explore his love of quiet, reflective and sombre minimalist music.
Having released a steady stream of tracks online since its inception in November 2011 (including three albums), the Kiev based pianist has so far perfectly executed his aims, with his music slow, uncluttered and at times breathtakingly beautiful and emotional.
While not for everyone, anyone with a love of movies scores and soundtracks really should give Sakevych’s work a listen to. Be prepared to get emotional though.
Think we’ve abandoned another King or Queen of Kiev? Let us know in the comments below.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith