Album Review Tirzah - Colourgrade

A record with a deep commitment to experimentalism.

Tirzah - Colourgrade

It would’ve been a fool’s errand to have made any predictions about the direction in which Tirzah would move in following up her debut, 2018’s ‘Devotion’, the influence of which continues to reveal itself with every new experimental R&B release. Increasingly, it looks as if that album redrew the landscape for the point at which alternative pop and R&B intersect; a mercurial work impossible to pigeonhole, it was a bracing opening statement from an artist revelling in her sense of creative freedom. The backdrop to this follow-up, ‘Colourgrade’, is that the Londoner largely penned it while on tour in support of ‘Devotion’, which was also around the time she gave birth to her second child. The results are similarly unpredictable and, in places, surprisingly austere; the warmth of her last record’s textures have given way to murky industrial soundscapes like the ones on the title track, also the opener, and the thickly atmospheric likes of ‘Recipe’. Elsewhere, there’s discordant lullabies to her newborn (‘Sleeping’), off-kilter pop (‘Sink In’) and trip hop references (‘Send Me’), and a dichotomy begins to emerge; there’s a clear juxtaposition between the brooding soundscapes and the emotionally-charged lyricism, with motherhood the thematic axis. This is a record with a deep commitment to experimentalism - not least on six-minute centrepiece ‘Crepuscular Rays’, a deeply strange voice-and-guitar exercise - and that’s bound to throw plenty of those who loved ‘Devotion’. That, in itself, is exactly what you’d hope for from such an artistic non-conformist.

 

As featured in the October 2021 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.

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