Sometimes you come across an artist that genuinely straddles several genres in a way that means you can’t classify them comfortably as anything. HEIRESS follows this pattern with a heavy dose of hip-hop beats and pop tropes but it sounds nothing like those genres.
Opener “Close Your Eyes” has a stomping kick drum and a flanging tom drum from the late 80’s as modern-day retro keyboards explode all over a smooth Icelandic-styled vocal. It’s not immediately catchy but it has such a strange tone and twist to it, as a listener you are pulled in as much out of intrigue as pleasure initially. Then upon repeated listen you understand the chords and general weirdness. “Bread Winner” has a weird vocal collage throughout as there are about four different vocal patterns going on at once. It’s not a mess, it’s like they are in combat together as they cut in and over each other. The neon tinged synths back up the heavy drums and the vocals – the latter taking centre stage here. It reminds me of what Soft Cell and Mark Almond were doing when they went as far off the mainstream as possible. “Leopard” is about as close to normal song as you’ll get as HEIRESS plays with time and pitch shifts. It has a glistening to it though and that heavenly like edge returns for “Pasture” which is a smooth guitar, beat and vocal oohing 90 piece. Lasting 90 seconds, it’s the light in what is generally a darker toned EP. “Waste” has some ingenious percussive elements over the electric piano base of the song. There’s space ship guns, lasers, wooden sticks and rubber boxes. The track is almost a jazz track but because of how eclectic everything else is around the main instrument – not least the weird middle eight’s chord structure – it feels anything but a jazz track. The six track EP closes with “Invaders” is the most stripped down track with vibraphones, finger clicks and heavy bass drum beats.
HEIRESS is so difficult to quantify. The songs aren’t immediately catchy nor are they vaguely mainstream yet they contain the essence of pop music twisted inside out. Sometimes it reminds me of an Oh Land project that gone way too far, but that would be faint praise because HEIRESS displays such a range of musical genre and skill here, it’ll be interesting to see where on earth she goes from here.