Bold and bright modern pop from Nilufer Yanya, bursting out of your stereo in the form of debut full-length album Miss Universe. The confidence of that title is all over the album’s sound, which combines soul and electronica details with gnarly guitar, helmed by Yanya’s big vocals. It's good folks. On ATO Records.
Limited Vinyl Double LP £20.49 ATO0448LPC
2LP on ATO Records. Clear vinyl with booklet, limited to first pressing.
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CD £10.49 ATO0448CD
CD on ATO Records.
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Indie rock has become something of a “bad word” ever since British music industry tried to eat itself and birthed the concept of landfill indie. Now I’m of the right age that I was entirely susceptible to the marketing that went behind that sort of stuff to the point where I bought a number of CDs that have long since been shipped off to some distant warehouse to be reused, recycled, and rethought.
I say this because I’m about to call Nilüfer Yanya’s brilliant new album indie rock. And while I know that it’s deeply reductive, Miss Universe speaks a language that someone like me, someone who has owned a Pigeon Detectives CD, can understand. Whatever else is going on here these are tracks that take that indie rock palette, and use it very very well. ‘Angels’ has those indie rock guitars and indie rock drums and indie rock climax. And that climax of course features some lovely distortion to really up the ante.
But there’s more here too. Most notably Yanya’s vocals that are just brilliant. Her affectation is slightly disinterested, in keeping with the album’s satirising of the wellbeing industry, but sincerity is there in spades as she flies up and down her vocal range with ease. Tracks like ‘Baby Blu’ show off her skill at harmonising through multi-tracking, with the multiple Yanya’s whizzing round us like lights in a cosmic disco. And the music sounds like it’s from a disco too. And sometimes it sounds like an R&B ballad, and sometimes a grunge-y heater.
Part of the problem of landfill indie is that we became content. As long as something hit the right notes we gave it its moment in the sun. Miss Universe demands more and makes it look easy.
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