As the debut offering of Toronto-born solo artists Joanne Pollock is a euphoric and intricate release, consistently caked in beauty. Stranger consolidates the hype around Pollock, which acclaims her as one of the most promising artists from across the pond. Off-kilter pop, with a refreshing sense of experimentation.
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Nice, weird-sprinkled pop here via Joanne Pollock, who I’m thankful to for just fucking getting on with it and inducting her new album ‘Stranger’ with little-to-none fanfare. In fact this thing makes itself busy from the off: “Carnival” immediately has several different bits and bobs to swot away, its bassy gloop, machine-tinkered percussion and host of insect electronics combining to create a backdrop of tripped out detritus for Pollock. With her absolutely enthralling vocal delivery, which can move between dynamics of cool, collected and frenzied in seconds, she sounds like Perfume Genius or Björk, accompanied by sonic sanitation
I just wanna tell you how “Melt Myself” is one of my favourite slow songs of the year and we’ll see where we go from there: for an artist working in this lane of electronically disassembled singer-songwriter, she perfectly collates her synth lines (which wobble and warp gorgeously) alongside shimmering beats and sensitive vocal movements. It sounds busy and clear -- two things that can go together better than anything else ever, in truth. With sparse production and diluted chimes, “Never Been You” gains a strange power from being snapped into place, its beats becoming firmer and more assured as Pollock reaches the crux of things. These kind of intuitive moments make me think Pollock could make some pretty good straight-up dance tunes, if she wanted.
As is, though, her songs are a lovely mix of maximal and sparse, using electronics that flounder and fade in the same way her voice does. It makes for an ominous and plot-twisting record that makes me feel very good about all the computer sounds I could only dream of making. Cop if you like thoughtful production and a world wide web of emotions.
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