Glitch Princess

From emo-pop to glitch and spoken word plus a four-hour ambient closer, Singaporean songwriter Yeule is the "victorian classical style cyberscape" artist you've been waiting for, finds Nathan Evans

Yeule self-describes their aesthetic as a “victorian classical style cyberscape”. Assuming they include “victorian” as an era of history defined by monarchy, the London-via-Singapore artist’s words are dead-on. Their music is a heavily-edited take on art pop, and they adopt a gripping cyborg persona that requires glowing make-up, zalgo text, and couture taken from every Fashion Week imaginable. Yeule doesn’t quite transmit emotion the way humans do, and their second all-original album Glitch Princess is more or less a re-introduction to this half entity, half algorithm. Backed by production that calls to mind Sega Bodega’s 2021 release Romeo, Yeule feels like pop royalty from a digital dimension.

Except in Glitch Princess’ clumsy first leg. Following an uncomfortable spoken-word intro that displays a robot’s lack of inhibition, ‘Electric’ climaxes with a tinnitus-inducing screech atop industrial crashes, and makes for an overbearing first impression. It does, however, teach the listener to be prepared for whatever Yeule may hurl at you.

Using tinges of emo-pop is the stylistic outlier ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty’. Wired to a guitar ripped from Mura Masa’s last album, Yeule croons a crystal melody that gives this plausible oddity a peaceful charm. Equally, ‘Eyes’ is a baroque ballad with chords that wander away cheekily from the usual four-chord progressions, and breathy vocals that let each word linger. Yeule echoes out, “How can I burn out of my own real body?”, before giving way to a synth collision almost as hair-raising as the bass from Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music (For A Film)’.

Lyrically, Glitch Princess can be a masochistic record. ‘Too Dead Inside’s gummy dancehall rhythm almost blots out the track’s very despairing title. Yeule had a childhood defined by severe social withdrawal, resulting in them growing up living on the internet and manifesting the synthetic persona presented today. Despite their robotic visuals and the royal connotations of the album’s title, they see fit to leave in or fabricate errors – sour notes and production malfunctions – that compliment human feelings of self-destruction. ‘Bites On My Neck’ is an ode to an amour they loved – and swiftly killed – with their “bare hands”. It is the best moment of ecstasy on the project.

Ending proceedings proper is the baffling ‘The Things They Did for Me Out of Love’, a four-hour-forty-four-minute ambient track that is like watching the untempered footage of a timelapse. The statement itself is grander than the track’s contents, but an abridged version would perfectly cap off a wonderfully uninhibited record. Yeule sits in a coterie of future thinkers making eclectic pop music, and since the scene has become a cultural firecracker in the last few years, many artists are seeing praise for work that rests on its recent success. Glitch Princess moves the goalposts once again.

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