Mikhail Paskalev – I Spy EP


Mikhail Paskalev’s EP, I Spy, is fully of cheery folk-pop, with heavy influences of pop and gypsy jazz. His cheeky character comes through in the manic bass lines and fiddly solo passages. Throughout the EP I am reminded strongly of the work of four-piece girl group Katzenjammer - perhaps unsurprising given the Norwegian roots of both artists.

Paskalev’s voice has a depth and crackle to it that separates him from some of the softer vocalists of the folk genre. He freely admits that his music is at times shamelessly catchy, but never without excitement and well-constructed harmonies. His hit track I Spy, the title track of the EP, is hugely entertaining throughout. The Risky Business tribute music video has over a million views on YouTube, making it without a doubt the biggest commercial success for this great young artist.

The second track on the EP, Susie, is a far gentler affair than I Spy. With the vocal line taking precedent over everything else, it demonstrates the versatility of Paskalev, showing his maturity as an artist as well as being capable of outright cheesy fun. There are some complex rhythmic passages in Susie, meaning that despite the simple instrumentation your attention is firmly grasped throughout. The track is a great opportunity for Mikhail to demonstrate his vocal abilities, dancing in falsetto above the guitar line. Whether this is a little self indulgent for a love song is up to you to decide!

Come On is by far the most sophisticated track on the EP. Lyrically it holds a certain resonance that the others are lacking. A clear Paul Simon influence can be heard in the interaction between bass and guitar, and Mikhail’s vocals sit nicely on top, with some delicate harmony surrounding them.

I Spy is the perfect introduction to the music of Mikhail Paskalev, with each track giving the listener different a taste of this talented artist’s sound. There is an unmistakable ambience and spirit in which Paskalev’s music is crafted, making his tracks highly recognisable. With a heavy pop influence on his work, I Spy is a more accessible EP than a lot of others others in the folk and folk-derivative genre, and perhaps this crossover sound is the key to Paskalev’s appeal.

By Emily Webb