RnB meets indie rock dreamscape.
It’s taken me a few weeks to really understand how I feel about Lip Talk’s new album ‘Laughing and Eating Cake’. That’s because it feels largely like a collection of songs placed together to feel irrelevant and breezy. That in turn made me feel a bit breezy about the music itself and it has taken time for me to appreciate what Lip Talk has put together.
When playing singles ‘King’ or ‘HD’, Lip Talk has leaned into the dreamverse of 80’s synths as bleeding wipes of sound. She’s then added in guitars from her rockier side and tuned them back to be pastoral effects rather than big statements. The whole album feels like it wants to be a summer anthem collection ala Sylvan Esso but tackles it with floaty clouds rather than pointed beats and synths. It left me and still leaves me now, a little confused over the intent of what the album is doing. In the end, I had to make a choice to park that and see where the mood of the album took me.
Tracks like ‘More’ and ‘Running in Place’ are radio hits in waiting. Their cleverly disguised rousing anthems really work well in spite of the dreamier production that surrounds it. Elsewhere ‘Solar Return’ uses wiry synth plucks and halo keyboards to perfect effect. Add in a high soft vocal performance that is then vocoded into a wind howl and you have ethereal Goldfrapp ‘Felt Mountain’ perfection. Lip Talk does enjoy mixing her musical styles and sound effects up and it makes for a crazy-sounding album at times. ‘Precious’ is a personal highlight and the rock piece of the album with its dissonant synths and meh vocal delivery over the angry drums. ‘Marie’ instead reminds me of Sheena Ringo’s jazztronica style and is packed with layers of synths. ‘Bargain Day’ mixes trip-hop with RnB cheesiness. I think the levity of tone on some tracks also pushes the album outside of my usual comfort zone too.
I think my initial barriers to ‘Laughing and Eating Cake’ came because as an album it feels incohesive. Each track, when taken as a standalone unit, actually works really well. So that’s how I recommend tackling Lip Talk’s new collection – pick you two or three songs depending on your mood and leave the rest for the other moods as you come across them. Just know going in that the songs want to bop but the production wants you to glide instead. Fans of experimental pop though – dive in! This will be your late-night jam.
Recommended track: Solar Return
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