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JESSY LANZA All The Time gets 7.5/10


Jessy Lanza
All The Time
Hyperdub

7.5/10

The Canadian singer and producer returns for her third album on Hyperdub, delivering some peppy pop numbers and a clutch of ballads. Lanza’s music features her creative, expressive voice that ranges from a soulful croon to pop chanteuse and all the way down to a whispered hush. Electronic effects subtly caress the vocals to keep them playful and engaging, mirroring the production style as well. Production-wise, she and co-producer Jeremy Greenspan have a light touch, sculpting minimalistic tracks with engaging melodic flourishes on synths that come from a range of high and low timbres that form a lush tapestry behind her voice.

Several upbeat pop numbers anchor the album, but All The Time does feature more ballads than steppers. Single and standout track Lick In Heaven is a steady cruiser featuring a nimble bassline with some funky synth stabs on top. The super-catchy chorus has expressive keys and a repeated lyrical motif of “Once I’m spinning/ I can’t stop spinning”. Over And Over is a kind of spiritual sister track to Lick In Heaven – another bouncy pop number with a killer hook in the chorus wrapped around the repeating lyric of the title. These two tracks that bracket the album near the beginning and end are among the best in her whole catalogue.

Other up-tempo numbers such as Face feature trap-like rhythms and sped up vocals more commonly found in Hyperdub’s stable of footwork producers. Like Fire rides busy percussion over a slowly unfolding bassline, providing some toe-tapping moments.

Yet most of the tracks on All The Time are more contemplative, downtempo numbers. Not that they are dreary affairs by any means, as these slower songs give Lanza a chance to show off her impressive vocal range. Ice Creamy and Baby feature melodic bass lines with plenty of space around the notes that verge positively into a funk-soul hybrids that wouldn’t be out of place on a DāM-FunK album. Lanza’s voice is hushed, pitched up or down on other backing tracks, but is always earnest with an impeccably clear and strong delivery.

One of the best of the slower tracks is Alexander, featuring the line “Would you rather be lonely?” coming up as a mantra throughout the heartfelt slow track. It is the most comfortable in its slow-burning skin, a standout among the ballads.

The heart rate never gets too fast while listening to All The Time, whereas Lanza’s previous albums featured plenty of slower numbers but kept the pace moving. Here, she’s comfortable dialling back the tempo a notch or two, perhaps owing to moving to NYC before the pandemic, then having to finish the LP online with her collaborators once the lockdown started. Whatever the inputs, All The Time is enjoyable on both vocal, lyrical and melodic levels, especially if you have got the time to luxuriate in the understated slower tracks that feature here.

PAUL DOUGHTY

 

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