Aye! Priori –  Paradame (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

PrintParadame sounds like the perfect artist for this post-genre world that we find ourselves in. There was a time when music was strangely tribal, that unwritten rules dictated that members of one broad musical base couldn’t be a fan of others. Punks didn’t go to prog gigs, Indie kids didn’t hit the commercial dance floors, rap and goth would cross the road to avoid each other. Thankfully all of that nonsense is behind us and only the other day I found myself sat in a coffee shop opposite a kid in guyliner and a Ramones t-shirt clutching a couple of Steely Dan vinyls he’d found going cheap. I just hope that he was using his laptop to obtain tickets for a Taylor Swift tour but that may be asking too much of the analogy.

Anyway, the point is, this is the world I have been looking forward too for a long time, one where rules, expectations and perceived protocol don’t matter and we are free to explore any musical avenue that takes our ear. This too is the world of Paradame. Hurricane, the lead single and album opener, gently splices electro-pop, hip-hop and futuristic R&B, vocals wander between street corner rap delivers and pure pop and the result is glorious and also liberating.

Whilst songs such as Break This are straighter takes on R&B and soul reinventions for the modern age, it is Wave which really shows the scope of her music, a futuristic and beguiling electro-rap driving along off-kilter dance grooves and a Darkwave soul. Ursula is built on minimal, pulsating music and atmospherics and the fact that album closer, A Thin Line, begins with the closing soliloquy from one of my favourite films, Blade Runner, only makes me love her music more.

Cobra is a fantastic prospect, a skittering sci-fi laced rap built on skittering trap percussion and sumptuous harmonies, odd and otherworldly, punchy yet poised. When most people creating music built on such a groove are talking about their hood and their streets, Paradame prefers to turn things into a galaxy and genre hopping piece of escapism.

Lyrically, she also comes from a clever place. Whereas many people working in such urban infused musical genres tend to use lyrics to evoke cliched aggrandisement about their environment, their ambitions and their material wealth, Aye! Priori is a soul-searching album. Its words and the scenes and scenarios they paint explores the head, the heart and the very soul, personal narratives perhaps but the messages here are universally transferable from artist to listener. An album which is both musically big and lyrically clever! Why has no one thought of that before?

Listen to the album HERE

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