There must be something in the water over in Canada. Over the last few years, electronic producers such as The Weeknd, Grimes and Caribou have all gone from niche oddities to festival headlining dance entities. And while Jessy Lanza’s latest edition won’t see her topping festival bills just yet, it is prime evidence of the blossoming roster of dance talent from directly across the pond.
Driven by crispy drum machines and shimmering synths, Lanza’s second full-length Hyperdub offering is instantly more direct and relatable than its predecessor; cloudy reverb is replaced by sheeny production.
Lanza has taken a maple leaf or two from her fellow native’s books – the initial single’s euphoric synth flurries and playfully stacked off-kilter beats are typical of any post-2009 Caribou release. The lead cut, ‘it means i love you’, opens with the sample of a sublime South African drum beat, or at least until glitchy vocals and quick-fire snares fire you straight back to technocentrism.
In alignment with the aforementioned Grimes, Jessy's echoing lyrics are both arduously hard to fathom yet beguilingly endearing. This comes to the fore in ‘could be u’ – the album's conclusive hit, which personifies its gold glitter-sprinkled artwork with sparkling synths.
But make no mistake; this record does not simply suckle off its genre-sharers. ‘Oh No’s charisma sets it apart from a multitude of contemporary electronica that often lacks the same level of soulfulness. For instance, laced with climbing funky bass-prods, ‘never enough’ is anything but devoid of originality and is slick enough to be your go-to soundtrack for crystal clear azure skies and rays of melting sunlight.
‘i talk BB’ is another that bleeds its own personality, and one with such a forward-thinking attitude. After initially chugging along like some measured Jean-Michel Jarre expedition, it evolves rapidly into something more organic as Lanza’s naked falsetto dances across bare piano chords - convincing us that her songwriting ability is no longer reliant on the husky reverb of her debut.
“I became obsessed with surrounding myself with tropical plants,” admits Lanza, in regards to the vegetation illustrations on her videos and sleeve. “I’ve been convinced that the air quality in our house is slowly killing us.” This unconventional vision is applied to the gorgeously idiosyncratic dancefloor R&B of ‘Oh No’. And while this release is unlikely to prevent slow death, it is sure to breath colour and life into the impending summer months.
Words: Jordan Foster
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