Before we go any further, let’s thank Charli XCX for writing one of this year’s most infectious club jams—Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” This self-described “Wednesday Addams-meets-Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice-meets Baby Spice” Londoner has been writing and performing since age 14, and at 20 she’s poised for some major stateside buzz.
With help from producers who’ve worked with Robyn, Major Lazer and Lana Del Rey, her eclectic debut is a cross-pollinated mix of dark and emotional Goth-glam (“Grins,” “Set Me Free”), ethereal confessionals (“Stay Away,” “So Far Away”) and four-to-the-floor electropop (“Take My Hand,” “Black Roses”). Her pipes are powerful yet graceful, childlike yet edgy, and she might remind you of a cross between Ellie Goulding and The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson. She also drops some streetwise hip-hop on “Cloud Aura” that features the bawdy Brooke Candy handling the rhymes. The heady synth sounds here are fuzzy, dark-wave and orchestral, the production is pitch-perfect and every corner of her romantic history is explored in the lyrics. It really comes together quite nicely. Having said that, she’s made a record the charms of which continue to be revealed upon each new listen.
– Paul V. for The Independent FM