Following on from her critically lauded debut Pull My Hair Back in 2013, Jessy Lanza reconvenes in the studio with partner and one half of Junior Boys, Jeremy Greenspan, for a delectable slice of post RnB.
The neon sheen of the ’80s breathes from every pore of Jessy Lanza’s sophomore album. The unabashed love for the staccato drum machine loops and Roland bass lines throw us right back after opener ‘New Ogi’ lulls us into the snap and click of ‘VW Violence’. It is an immediately different side to the artist – even though she has remixed Matthew Dear and shares her record label with two-step ingenue Burial – that’s fresh enough to glaze over her love for some decades past.
She kicks and lunges through songs like ‘Never Enough’ like a Madonna backing singer gone rogue. The vocal stylings are no doubt in debt to the former Queen of Pop and her cohorts but the distinction ends with a few processed beats here and a bassline bounce there. Lanza’s command of what the modern electronic song requires to sound fresh is on point throughout: there is the the playful nature of all those ’80s songs that our older siblings danced to in their youth but there is also the rough edge of today’s tech keeping proceedings current.
Compared to her previous effort – one full of twitchin’ synth stabs and drums that portrayed a nervous, tentative energy somewhat adrift with the electronic stir she was surrounded by – this album feels more purposeful. Tracks like ‘Oh No’ and ‘Vivica’ showcase Lanza’s vocal foremost; the music gives her focus but she is in total command of this vehicle.
Jessy Lanza has yet to break the commercial ground that many of her peers have cracked wide open in the years since her 2013 debut but the commercial and the critical will, no matter how much they intertwine, always be two different destinations. The viveur and raw talent she is building on may not be as palatable as the masses would like but there is no denying that Lanza is on track to great things.