Given that 2023 has already given us new records from the likes of Caroline Polachek, Tennis and U.S. Girls, we are hardy experiencing a dearth of what we might describe, for want of a better term, as avant-pop. Still, it’s difficult to categorise this sprawling new LP from Los Angeles native Genevieve Artadi as anything but; a classically-trained jazz musician, she keeps that genre’s freeform fundamentals at the foundation of everything she does, whether that be as one-half of the adventurous indietronica duo Knower or on her last solo effort, 2020’s Dizzy Strange Summer.
Half of the 12 tracks on this follow-up, Forever Forever, were penned with big band in mind, before Artadi recorded them with a maximalist electronic palette; in its very arrangements, then, her jazz grounding is a key aspect rather than an affectation. The melding of the two worlds is an experiment that by turns enthrals and infuriates; when she really lets herself go, as on the epic, racing conclusion to ‘I Know’, you feel as if you’re hearing somebody crack open something thrilling and genuinely fresh. Elsewhere, there’s a fixation on repetition and looping rhythms that works against Artadi; as the record progresses, it feels like something that stifles more often that it allows her to unfold her entire suite of ideas. Still, she stands alone stylistically – this is a beguiling addition to the year’s burgeoning complement of off-kilter pop albums.
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