zhala

This may be her debut album, but Zhala has long been generating a giddy collection of cut and paste quotes that would put the most self-assured starlet into a spin. Already compared to familiarly out-there female artists – from Grimes to Robyn (who’s signed Zhala to her new record label) – Zhala Rifat’s crazed, vibrant take on avant-garde pop is going to turn heads.

Opener ‘I’m in Love’ is the bold statement to that effect with its 4/4 bolted Balearic-tinged rhythms setting the eclectic tone for the alternative crusade that follows. Breezing between the ’80s glitterball of ‘Aerobic Lambada’ and the curious mix of panpipes and Dutch rave on ‘Prophet’, ‘Prince in the Jungle’ pushes Zhala’s unabashed pop vocals against squelching beats while ‘Me and My Borderline Friend in a Trance’ dials up the big, echoing dynamics.

An album with an emphasis on imagination, Zhala’s lust for adventure isn’t in doubt. But for all the daydream ambition, a little focus could have made this more than a sporadically brilliant sequence of carefree left turns.

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