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Pheeyownah
Silver Nick Roseblade , May 7th, 2019 07:49

The debut album from Swedish singer, producer and dancer Pheeyownah is full of graceful future pop with a gritty heartbeat, finds Nick Roseblade

The unstoppable rise of Swedish pop in the twenty-first century has been a joy to watch. Lykke Li, Little Dragon, Tove Styrke, and Robyn have carved out a niche for expansive and effervescent music. There is a new name to add to that list. Pheeyownah. It’s been two years since she released the mesmerising Zero9zero9 EP. That record featured seventeen minutes of forward-thinking hazy R&B pop that showcased Pheeyownah’s gossamer vocals and deft touch as a producer. She has now returned with her debut full-length release, Silver, an album that delivers on her early promise but progresses her sound to new and brave territories.

The album is a mixture of subtle bangers and diaphanous pop. ‘Venerable’, ‘Silver’, ‘Yellow Light’ and ‘Gold’ feel like the pop hits, complete with bouncy basslines, catchy choruses and a swagger that is hard to ignore. Imagine Sade being produced by Burial and you’re close. They are the most immediate and infectious songs on the album. And Pheeyownah has a great ear for a hook.

‘StayGood’ and ‘Noon2Nite’, meanwhile, are full of elegant synths and airy vocals, but it’s only after a few listens that you realise they’re almost devoid of beats. At first this appears an odd decision given the productions that preceded them. But when you realise that movement – bodily gesture and physical action – is as important to Pheeyownah as dirty bass and chittering hi-hats, it all makes sense. As a member of the dance crew JUCK, movement has always been important to Pheeyownah. This is how she sees and interprets the world. The choreography of her synths and vocals is as breath-taking as her own dancing.

Silver is an album full of massive subdued basslines, skittering breakbeats and sombre synths, but with Pheeyownah’s airy vocals floating above it all like mist over a pond. You can see it, but when you try and touch them, it drifts through your fingers. It’s a brave album which doesn’t pander to convention or chart-chasing bangers but, like Pheeyownah herself, follows its own path. If you let it, you will fall under Silver’s charm. You probably should. You owe yourself a treat.

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