Jessy Lanza has emerged from the depths of her studio in Hamilton, Canada with a second album. ‘Oh No’ has all the bubbly sass of a cheerleader’s birthday party, only more debonair. Jessy Lanza, the soul and funk DJ, music producer and vocalist has described the album as “more poppy” than her debut, ‘Pull My Hair Back’, and a marked difference can be heard, Lanza replacing more subtle whooshy musings from her debut with barefaced vocals and defined beats.
Despite this leap to previously unchartered territory, Lanza has remained producing music with collaborative sweetheart, Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys giving the album those signature candied techno-pop vibes. These are especially prominent in the album’s opening track, ‘New Ogi’ which introduces with a galactic loop of synth tones. Many of the tracks, such as ‘V Violence’, seem to be attempting to channel pop greats such as Madonna and Prince although on this track in particular, the vocals and lyrics are reminiscent of a stroppy teen lashing out at an ex squeeze. Luckily, Lanza cools off in the following track, ‘Never Enough’, which seems to have more of a grip over itself, the opening claps forming a firm beginning to an enjoyable and catchy song.
Lanza is frequently cited as an R’n’B fanatic, and this is evident in ‘Oh No’, where her appetite for the genre shines through. Lanza obscures her lyrics in ‘I Talk BB’, encrypting the meaning of the song for the listener and giving it a mysterious, alien air; a throwback to her earlier work. ‘Going Somewhere’ also has a unique and yearning vibe, the fragile, repeating words “I just wanna impress you” endearing you to the normally buoyant and resilient Lanza.
The darker notes of the album in tracks such as ‘Begins’ are perhaps where the real depth lies; it is Lanza’s ability to hold your hand as she walks you through sparsely lit metropolitan tunnels and walkways that makes her music stunning. Though it is clear Lanza is attempting a different style in ‘Oh No’, and many of the tracks do hit the spot, listeners may feel some of her latest work has regressed in maturity, the vocals those of a more spoilt Barbie doll figure, an entity ‘Pull My Hair Back’ never would have accommodated.
‘Oh No’ was released 26th May 2016 via Hyperdub
This Jessy Lanza review was written by Charlotte Chisholm, a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard. Photo credit : Tim Saccenti