Monday, 7 May 2012

Santigold's 'Master of My Make-Believe'

I couldn't wait for this album to come out....did it live up to my hopes? Well here is my dissection, in a typically rambling like manner...

 Opening with 'Go', all the elements than define Santigold for what she is remains the same (which I love). For example, the distinctive vocals, alternative harmonies and funky beats are sustained throughout the album. Admittedly, there are some overly similarly tracks to the debut album 'Santogold'. But I loved it, so why complain?

 The single 'Disparate Youth' has basslines which I'm sure shall be pumping through an Urban Outfitters BY YOU soon. A staccato, synth string section and ridiculous echo on the drums, this track gets your head bopping from the very start. With remixes of the anthemic tune by The Two Bears and Justice, it's soon to be a hit in the coolest of clubs. In summary, it has distinctive and sensual vocals that reflect everything Santigold has done in the past with intimate drums throughout the chorus and a guitar lick which punctures the vocal line and harmonic progression. The keys are hypnotising and the bass is pulsating from the very beginning.

Perhaps most alike to this upbeat, reggae and electronic pop fusion is 'Fame', a catchy and I'm sure favourite of the Santigold fans. "Me don't want no fame" is a catchy and down-with-the-kids-lyric. Leaps and unexpected turns in the vocals keeps this track fresh. More fusion tracks like this includes 'Freak Like Me', an edgy, hyped and again, unpredictable track. I think this stop-start track is quite similar to her older works such as 'Unstoppable'.

'God From The Machine' is the third track which edges away from the angelic pop electronica and moves to a brave reggae rhythm with ghostly backing. A haunting vocal line and lack of rush is key to this track. Off beat rhythms is what Santigold does to a tee, from the beats in 'Go!' to the syncopation in 'Disparate Youth', to the bass and off-beat accents in 'Pirate in the Water'.

'This isn't Our Parade' and 'The Riot's Gone' shows that she hasn't moved entirely into a world of  reggae beats come synth pop fusion but that she still has the ability to write the cutest of love songs including alternative keys and her ever powerful vocals. With hazy accompaniment that lazily joins in as a mimic of the vocal line "I can hear you now, I hear you calling", the song feels personal, the delicacies of the sustained chords, gentle drum track and reserved use of fills makes me feel subjected to Santigold's deepest depths.

In terms of musical development, the production of each track is exquisite (just listen to 'Pirate in the Water') . It's evident much time, energy and money has gone into perfecting the production, making everything as tight as possible and so has added an extra layer of electronica which may have not been as present in the first album. I like it. I think it helps move Santi into 2012.... And I was also extremely impressed how well this was brought over when performed live on Zane Lowe's show last week. Her band is TIGHT.

 In terms of songwriting, she hasn't taken any extreme paths away from the Santogold feel and I'm glad.  Some tracks do throw a curve ball into the equation such as 'Look At These Hoes' which features much more rapping and more aggressive songwriting that perhaps equates to 'Creator' from the first album, but the heavy dependency on the bass, contrast through the use of more R&B lyrics, the backing atmospheric wash and electronica adds a bit of spice to the album. I would have liked to have heard maybe just the odd track that could've offered something completely different. But her distinctive sound is what makes her stand out, especially for me anyway, in the alternative world.

Fave tracks: Disparate Youth, God From The Machine, This Isn't our Parade, Look At These Hoes and Big Mouth.

Like Santigold? Then try SBTRKT

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