Princess Chelsea’s music is a heady concoction, her reverbed vocals sitting in the middle of a many-layered blur of synths. The Great Cybernetic Depression is surely the pinnacle of her work so far, bright and poppy at the same time as sounding like a narcotic haze. Released on Lil’ Chief / Flying Nun.
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CD £11.49 LCR043
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Princess Chelsea’s electro-pop reaches peak morbidity on its second track, in which she and a singing partner hum about being so bored they could cry and so sad they could die. For the most part, it’s only going to read that intensely on paper; on ‘The Great Cybernetic Depression’ her industrial-strengthened pop twinkles politely and occasionally with a soft kind of magic, responding to the kind of joy pioneered by moog folks like Jean Jaques-Perry -- only for simple, romantic and occasionally very dour songwriting in the vein of Stephin Merritt.
It’s a pleasant mix, all round, and while Princess Chelsea’s choruses have never burst from their seams, they’re well shaded on this record, detailed with sound effects, distortion and wide-eyed melodies. Chelsea’s ability to manage the two distinctions of her sound -- clear, unassuming pop songs and wall of synth micro-aggressions -- is made all the more obvious on this record, and her softened industrial beats add to the record’s lightly futurist vibe. You don’t feel like you’re floating in space -- you maybe feel like you’re asleep in a space shuttle with a couple of the Go! Team.
There are a couple of surprises -- slick hard rock guitar solos are a premium -- but they’re integrated into the record’s purposely homogenous synthbase, making the record one you get absorbed into. Go with it, if you want to.
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