Sudan Archives Athena Stones Throw
On her debut album Athena, Sudan Archives (aka LA-based singer and violinist Brittney Parks) explores the idea of duality in various forms. It’s there in the artwork – the artist as a Greek sculpture, both a pillar of strength and vulnerable in her nudity. It’s also there in her unique and innovative music – a mix of classical violin and lush, glitchy R&B.
Parks’ experience as an identical twin has inspired Athena’s dives into polarity. She says she was framed as the “bad twin” by her stepdad growing up because she constantly missed rehearsals while he tried to transform the siblings into a pop sensation. She deals with the doubleness of twin life on a brief interlude called Ballad of Unhatched Twins I, which sounds like the arrival of new life, rising from gentle string swells to a flash of sound that whips and crackles. On the pattering Confessions, she moves onto the idea of belonging. “There is a place that I call home/ But that’s not where I am welcome,” she sings.
Parks has described this record as “more confrontational” than her previous EPs. That’s true in places – like when she softly sings “fuck you ‘til you cry” on Down on Me – but, in another act of duplexity, Athena is also a record of true beauty and resilience.