Not to be confused with the very similarly monikered ABBA, ABRA has lived all around the world before landing in Atlanta where she has begun to do her pop. She conceives everything herself, making a melancholic take on your mid 80s soul with a brilliantly wavering, squiggly voice and haunting synths over 303 beats.
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- Princess by ABRA
9/10 Robin Staff review, 23 September 2016
Songwriter star Abra has put in a shift and a half in the career leading up to ‘Princess’, as attested to in a heady press sheet that harkens back to the times when she was just pulling up an acoustic for covers of Gucci Mane tunes. Listening in on this EP, you can hear her sound as expansive and maximalist, but also cramped and homegrown, suggesting both an artist who’d make neat Youtube vids and huge, arena-scaped bangers.
As such, this record feels both high in stakes and low in key -- Abra starts it in earnest on the short vignette “Come 4 Me”, with interpolating vocal moans, a throbbing beat and a mix of synths both stark and ethereal ultimately forming an impressive sketch. This, of course, is before she jumps into a pop song proper on “Vegas”, whose huge industrial-strength beat combines with whining electronics and a flurry of vocalisations. It’s great hearing Abra both plot out tunes and get them in the main, and as “Vegas” attests, you can hear both the euphoria and the tinkering at once.
On “Big Boi”, Abra presents a huge, gaping environment for her song to bounce off of, with a beat that goes up in flames around her abstracted voice, while Tommy Genesis raps from front of the queue. It’s these small traded-on details that make ‘Princess’ feel so alive, the demarcation of intimate and remote -- the beat at your feet versus the singing from speakers on the other end of the room on “Pull Up”. This is a startlingly precise release and the songs shine accordingly.
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