The Israeli musician Noga Erez first alerted taste-makers with her debut single in 2016, ‘Dance While You Shoot’, a politically-charged critique of the manipulative wiles of government and authority whose ricocheting, billowing synths bathed in a shimmer that sat between the thumbprints of Grimes, M.I.A and FKA Twigs yet invested the track with an intoxicating allure of its own; this was beautiful, abstract robo-pop, exuding the anxiety of our times but refreshingly shorn of cliche.
Similarly, one of the outstanding features of ‘Off The Radar’, the twenty-six-year-old’s eagerly anticipated maiden long-player, is its texturally rich battery of sound – it feels extremely personal and informed by experience whilst suffused with wigged-out flourishes of microscopic deftness. The fractured and unwieldy blurts, burps, bass blasts, whooshes and clanks embedded in her jerky arrangements are presented with a brio that confounds as much as it communicates, wringing agitation as well as catharsis from its ominous, chaotic soundscape.
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Her socio-political songs take shape gradually in the mind, their images manifesting themselves as febrile dreams, whilst the throaty tones of the singer’s voice and the cavernous, doom-laden nature of the production style – belly-wobbling, seasick sub-bass, gunshots, typewriter taps, boom and crack beats – merge to concoct a dazzling tapestry that lulls you into a stupor.
Erez is that rarity in glitchy, ethereal r’n’b and strobe-lit alt-pop, an auteur who bolsters her moody production chops with lyrical content of striking depth and acuity: ‘Pity’ draws upon a news story and social media storm about an Israeli woman who was raped as onlookers recorded the assault on their phones rather than intervene, ‘Toy’ examines nepotism and privilege, ‘A Hit Is A Hit’ references state-mandated executions and the title track extracts a connection between our need for recognition and affirmation and the control exerted by corporations.
Working in tandem with long-time collaborator Ori Rousso, Erez sculpts a lyrical style that flicks between dreamily free-associative and disarmingly direct, whilst summoning atmospheres of dread and ebullience that sound optimised for blasting out of loud speakers at high volume. Likewise, her vocals, which can be both offhand and declamatory, sultry and zombie-eyed, beckon the listener with an undercurrent of eerie menace.
Dripping with imagination and vibrancy, ‘Off The Radar’ is an audacious, cohesive and enchanting sensorama from a fearless, original artist forging her own path, an eminently-replayable provocation for both head and heart that dives deep into new, curious directions and breathes fresh life into warped pop.
The track-listing for the album is as follows…
Dance While You Shoot
Off The Radar
A hit Is A Hit