Formerly one half of successful French folk-pop duo Lilly Wood and the Prick, Nili Hadida’s eponymous debut solo album marks her return to the musical fray.
The 11-track offering is an eclectic mix of sounds from bold pop to R&B to captivating electronica. Opening with softly calming ‘Gold Memories’, Hadida sets the tone for her newly developed sound.
Next comes ‘Covered in Luck’ the live version of which showcases Nili’s expansive vocal range in the form of explosive gospel, before the darkly haunting ‘Another Drink’ puts you in a trance.
This trance-like state remains a common and welcome thread in the otherwise experimental soundscape of the album, as tracks like the groovy ‘This Way’, the pop-influenced ‘It’s Me’ and the slow-build ‘A Lot Too Much’ leave you swaying, lost in the music.
But track ‘Dorian’ stands out as it snaps you out of folksy hypnosis with its thundering beats, while electronica number ‘401’ motivates you with its powerful, anthemic presence. And the album’s centre-piece, ‘Frank’ pays tribute to Frank Ocean’s ‘Pink Matter’ - an existential assessment of the male-female dichotomy.
Enlisting Christian Rich (N.E.R.D, Diddy, Lil Kim) for production and Jimmy Douglass (Björk, Kanye West) for mixing, helps take the creation to a higher plane, as the pair transform Hadida’s ideas. Taking songs that initially began lives in different incarnations - such as ‘Brazilian War’ and ‘Why Feel Alone’ - and propelling them into something brand new.
The tracks alternate seamlessly between quietly soothing and impactfully upbeat. The offering doesn’t let your ears or mind wander as it keeps you rapt in attention with each playing note.
Nili Hadida’s first foray into solo music is fearless and successfully breaks away from her band dynamic, as it showcases her evolution and experimentation in developing a unique palette of brilliant sounds and with tour dates pencilled for early this year, we can look forward to her new music capturing us in a live setting.
Words: Malvika Padin
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