Somewhere between Beyoncé, Thelma Plum, Montaigne, Santigold and FKA Twigs… picture that. This seemingly impossible fusion of talent is what I hear in my first listen of Ngaiire’s latest LP, released on 10th June. This is the start of one hell of a musical journey. This is Blastoma.
I must admit, before we go any further, this is my first experience of Ngaiire aside from her ethereal performance of Tame Impala’s instant classic The Less I Know The Better for Triple J’s Like A Version late last year. So, without knowing much of her previous music, it was interesting to start with a clean slate.
Right from the beginning, Ngaiire’s velvety voice cuts through smoky synths and a throbbing bassline that’s somehow both monotonous and intriguingly fitting. Fragile backing vocals fill the gaps between the minimalistic electronics and allow for some uplifting, Gospel-esque crescendos throughout. She somehow crafts her vocals in a way that makes them both delicate and powerful. This combination, like titanium and glass, gives the music such a unique beauty, the likes of which I’ve never heard. So much soul has gone into this record; you almost feel it more than you hear it.
Throughout the album, Ngaiire builds you up, breaks you down, rips your heart out and shoves it back in upside down – sometimes all in a song. It’s one of those rare, versatile arrangements of music you can happily listen to all the way through as the separate tracks melt into one, colourful mess of emotion. It’s not pretentious; it’s just listenable. Blastoma is reminiscent of RÜFÜS’ debut album Atlas in that it finds a way to fit into and relate to any situation, but on a deeper, sometimes darker level.
In next to no time you’re seven tracks into the pilgrimage—and I do mean pilgrimage—having been entranced, enchanted and encapsulated by this young lady’s unfathomable ability to reach out and make you empathise, sympathise and take comfort. The melting, waterfall-like nature of the record makes it difficult to pick out just one song, but the ninth and final track, Fall Into My Arms is certainly the most memorable and the most emotive. You feel exposed, anew, after Blastoma, particularly with this ending. You feel melancholic, because there are only nine tracks and you just want more. Above all, though, you feel alive in the way that only wonderful, soulful, passionate music can make you feel.
So, what do you do? You hit that repeat button, and you go again.
Ngaiire brings her Blastoma album tour to Fat Controller this Friday 17th June with support from LANKS and Cruel collaborator Jack Grace. Tickets are still available here; this is a show you do NOT want to miss. Blastoma is available on both iTunes and Spotify.