Jessy Lanza’s first release in four years sees her recast her forward-thinking pop into a tauter mould.
Created during a move somewhere new and a new relationship, and finalised this spring, at the same time as the cancellation of her European tour, ‘All the Time’ bears marks of this fracture and uncertainty. It draws on ostensibly breezy styles – 90s R&B, pioneering Japanese synth-pop and soft- edged house – but its self-reflexive, searching lyrics, modular gurgles and warped effects mean the final result is more anxiety-laden and by-and-large more memorable, giving it broad appeal. It works as well on a car (or van) stereo as on a pair of isolating headphones on a dreary day.
Lanza’s unassuming coo, often wrenched out of shape, sits comfortably atop a backing that variously recalls Laurel Halo, SWV and YMO. Co-producer Jeremy Greenspan, it seems, is the warper-in-chief.
The pair generally find the sweet spot between dayglo pop and geeky experimentation. On each listen, a different hook, chord change or sonic artefact stands out, but as wholes the first few tracks are standout: ‘Alexander’, a smooth melancholic R&B number, and the two shimmery singles ‘All Around’ and ‘Lick in Heaven’.
Its 10 tracks are tied together by pop structures and familiar, forceful bass drums, but inflected by jazz and footwork, they retain a capacity for surprise beyond a few days’ listening. A radiant and eminently danceable album, it’s a necessary salve to put on this year.
Words: Wilf Skinner
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