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Abra: Rose


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From The Ransom Note:
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Rose is at heart an RnB album, albeit one that treats the genre as a sinuous, pliable canvas. From the languid “Fruit”, where house piano stabs at slow jam pace and snare drums crack under Abra’s yearning vocals, to the Casio soundbank disco love of “Roses XOXO“, the album poses and answers a question: what happens when an artist steeped in hip hop makes a record where the rough edges are left in? Where the beats are made in late night living rooms rather than million dollar studios? Where the autotune is given a break and the cracked notes stay? The results are both reassuringly old skool and intriguingly forward facing; old skool in how the lack of autotune allows some refreshing grit to enter Abra’s soulful delivery, and also in her tendency towards throwback sound palettes (“Shot” in particular sounds like it’s made on stalwart 90s drum machine the Roland R-70). The modernity is most apparent in her embrace of low end throb, with sub frequencies, somewhere between menacing and sexy, sliding round the brittle kick drums like oil on glass. It’s worth noting that Abra has produced the entire album as well as showcasing her remarkable voice- in a balanced world this in itself would see her picking up the kind of praise heaped on FKA Twigs. But the Awful collective are resolutely indie, the mainstream media is resolutely conservative, and we don’t live in a balanced world. I’d hate to see the album filed under the dreaded ‘Alt R&B’ tag, although I suspect it might be. When I think of Alt R&B I think of people who never dance making music for people who can’t dance, and this isn’t a record for either. Instead Rose is what R&B should be – inventive, sensual, danceable and heavy with soul. It’s got the intimacy and immediacy of a punch or a kiss, and deserves the impact of both. It’s not perfect, maybe, but then neither is life. Recommended.”
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Stream Rose below and purchase via Bandcamp.
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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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