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Kali Uchis
Por Vida Mof Gimmers , February 13th, 2015 13:30

Kali Uchis has been getting R&B nerds all kinds of excited for a while now, with the perfect neo-soul of 'Real' doing the rounds and the whacked-out bliss of her Drunken Babble mixtape showing huge amounts of promise.

Lately, she's been gearing up with some choice video drops and guest-spots, looking like an artist all ready to start getting serious in her quest to get heard. The Colombian (via Virginia) comes on like butter wouldn't melt, but you know damn well that while she's giving you a sugary sweet veneer, she's also got the kind of swag that says she'd cut your dick off if you even tried any funny business. She's good-bad, but she's not evil. She's a nitrogen bomb in a Hello Kitty lunchbox.

With her brand of summery low-rider R&B, Kali Uchis is a welcome change from the rest of the soul pack, dragging vintage soul out of the past and reworking it into a very direct, sophisticated, modern pop music. Like Erykah Badu and say, Amy Winehouse, she lets entire record collections come spilling out.

On her newest release – Por Vida – Kali Uchis has started to fully live up to the promise, making a selections of tracks that are absolutely irresistible. The sweetness coupled with hardness is the most compelling aspect. In 'Ridin' Round', she sings so innocently: "Baby, understand – I don't need a man: Fuck me over and I'll fuck you worse."

It's like watching someone's strawberry ice-cream melt over their knuckle-duster. There's a couple of tracks produced by Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator, who is in particularly melodic mood and returning the favour from Uchis' appearance on his 'Aunt Wang Syrup Theme Song'. In 'Call Me', we are treated to a dreamy, smoked out R&B, while in 'Speed', Kali indulges herself in dub. Concerning the latter, Kali Uchis has always had a penchant for reggae, and in 'Know What I Want', she's made a case for the return of Lover's Rock. A song so good, that when Snoop Dogg saw it, he immediately reached out and got Kali on his mixtape.

Elsewhere, on 'Melting', you get an impossibly gorgeous slice of pop that could almost be Dubstar or St. Etienne, if they grew up drinking lean. It's a perfect come-on track that slowly cascades around your head, like you're walking to away from your first kiss. It really is that swoonsome. And it is no fluke either – Por Vida also features the very, very strong pop of 'Lottery', which is exactly the kind of track that can strip you of all your cynicism and leave you dribbling in a heap on the floor.


In 'Rush', like the rest of the LP, there's also nods to Stereolab, with analogue noodlings with a French Library rhythm section, while 'Loner' is the perfectly created torch song for sensitive tough girls messing around on Tumblr while topping up their glass hash pipes.

Kali Uchis is a perfectly formed artist who we should all really make a star of. She's a postmillennial Billy Holliday in pastel hot-pants. Most artists look to be meme-ready in 2015, but in Kali Uchis, we've got a real contender.

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