Q (UK) - - The Shape Of Sounds To Come -

Given it’s a sub­ject that’s been the cor­ner­stone of pop­u­lar mu­sic since time im­memo­rial, it’s no mean feat to be able to write a col­lec­tion of love songs that sound star­tlingly orig­i­nal and fresh in 2018. Over de­con­structed, min­i­mal­ist sound col­lages from her life­long best friend, skewed popod­dball turned Os­car-nom­i­nated com­poser Mica Levi, 31- year-old singer Tirzah takes well-thumbed source ma­te­rial, strips out ro­man­tic hy­per­bole and de­liv­ers it with the gloss-free frank­ness of a young mum who’s had to make a long-term re­la­tion­ship work. “Be­ing a mum and in a re­la­tion­ship must have af­fected it,” notes Tirzah, at home in Lady­well, South-East Lon­don, “but more than any­thing it was not want­ing to over-drama­tise, and just be re­al­is­tic and hon­est.” The magic of re­cent de­but al­bum De­vo­tion is that while Levi (or “Meeks” to Tirzah) con­structs an al­most avant-garde back­drop of dis­em­bod­ied loops and stark beats, Tirzah seems in­ca­pable of avoid­ing the plea­sures of a sim­ple pop melody. Even when be­ing man­gled, chopped and fil­tered, her strangely dead­pan vo­cals al­ways float in on a killer tune. “It comes nat­u­rally when I hear Meeks’s mu­sic, a par­tic­u­lar beat or loop that she pulls up for us to work on,” she notes. “We al­ways wanted to try and keep things sim­ple, that was the goal.” The fringes of mu­sic can at times feel like a cold and in­tim­i­dat­ing place, but Tirzah cre­ates mu­sic that man­ages to sound both strange and oth­er­worldly, while hav­ing em­pa­thy, vul­ner­a­bil­ity and a warm fa­mil­iar glow. There’s life in the love song yet.

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