2013 was a bloody awful year for me, a miserable slow-motion car crash that only improved in its dying weeks. At one point in the summer things got so bad that I put my pants on my head. You heard me – I went there.
I tried to cheer myself up by immersing myself in (relatively) modern pop music for the first and indeed last time in years. It kind of worked, while the music played (AT-S). To give a few examples – Alice Russell, Quadron, Rhye, Janelle Monae, Giovanca and Alice Smith all released albums that I very much enjoyed…
However…in the years that followed, there were no proper follow-ups to the above-mentioned albums. It was almost as if these artists had frozen in my basilisk-like gaze.
But now in 2018 the Curse of 2013 appears to have finally been lifted. Janelle was the first to break ranks, predictably.
And now we have a new Rhye album – as shimmeringly perfect- or rather perfected – as it’s predecessor, if slower to reveal its charms. There’s another monochrome picture of, er, a “person” on the cover, and the same wispy minimalist chic-soul which is at once blank and deeply wounded, in a way that reminds me of the Blue Nile’s Hats without actually sounding anything like it.
And yet there are subtle changes, surreptitious second-albumisms here and there that suggest that these Scandi-funsters are not merely content to repeat the world-conquering* sound of Woman. My favourite track so far is the somewhat atypical Phoenix – which builds interestingly into something almost Nile Rodgersian from its familiar chilly Nordic soul base.
(*note to self: check sales figures)