fri 03/07/2020

CD: Solange - True | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Solange - True

CD: Solange - True

The younger Ms Knowles proves to be as much of a pop powerhouse as big sis

Red alert: Solange and Dev Hynes combine modern production trickery with 1980s pop grooves on 'True'

Writing about True without naming the elephant in the room was always going to be a challenge, even if the younger Ms Knowles’ next move had built on the more experimental sounds of her earlier work or “Stillness is the Move”, her 2009 collaboration with Dirty Projectors. But then “Losing You” dropped in October, and it just so happened to feature one of the greatest female R&B vocals since, well...

The song is a gripping opener to this seven-track mini-album, Solange’s first release on Grizzly Bear’s Terrible imprint. Fusing choppy, tribal beats with an understated vocal performance, the quiet desperation of “Losing You” conveys the song’s powerful sense of loss far more effectively than all the big-ballad histrionics in the world ever could. Far more impressive is that is manages to do so while remaining catchy as sin.

That nothing else on True quite matches the single in immediacy is in no means a criticism. Whether it’s the freedom of an indie label or - more likely - the result of finding the perfect collaborator in the shape of co-writer and producer Dev Hynes, the record goes on to play joyfully with the most modern of production trickeries at the same time as drawing heavily from 1980s pop grooves. With its syncopated rhythm and synthetic hand claps, “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work” could almost have been stolen from Kylie’s early catalogue - if you ignore the kind of knowing lyrics Stock, Aiken and Waterman would never have allowed near a record sleeve.

It might not be a perfect collection - “Don’t Let Me Down” feels like filler and, despite the perfect rhythmic segue between the last two tracks, “Bad Girls” probably goes on about a minute too long - but there are times it comes close. The glitchy, menacing “Locked in Closets” practically begs to be played on vinyl, while “Lovers in the Parking Lot” gives Solange a proper chance to exercise her considerable vocal chops, and even duet with herself thanks to a neat bit of electronic trickery. Solange is currently working with Hynes on a full-length release, and on this evidence, it’s bound to excite more than that Destiny’s Child reunion.

Watch the video for "Losing You"


The glitchy, menacing 'Locked in Closets' practically begs to be played on vinyl

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