Tuesday 24 April 2012

Santigold - Master Of My Make-Believe

She's back.  It's been four years since the release of Santigold's self-titled debut album (then spelt Santogold), vomiting up gold and some excellent music to become one of 2008's top breakthrough artists.  'Master Of My Make-Believe' has been well worth the wait and proves that taking the time to craft a worthy follow-up not only results in one of the songs of the year so far in single Disparate Youth, but a full album of hits.

What's most commendable with Santigold's work is her unique sound.  Where 'Santogold' tended to alternate between the afro-reggae-RnB of L.E.S Artistes and the dark, aggresive hip-hop of Creator, this new album consolidates the sound into a more focused effort.  The reggae and afro-beats underpin much of the music, complimenting the gritty guitars and synths to form a truly multicultural sound that spans a range of genres - God From the Machine being a prime example.  Elsewhere, Pirate In The Water has a distinctly 80s reggae flavour and the brilliant This Isn't Our Parade uses marimba for a suggestion of Africa, whilst its various bleeps and bloops could easily be taken from a Postal Service track.

The recent release of Disparate Youth and its significant radio airplay has shown that Santigold can cross over to the mainstream, with its slick production and "ooh ah" vocal hook, but the album as a whole is more suited to indie circles.  This is certainly serious pop music, which shuns the lighthearted fun of current trends.  She's more than capable of writing a good hook though and Disparate Youth is very much an anthem for today's teenagers.  Other tracks like Fame, with its "we all want the fame" chorus, Freak Like Me ("you look good on Photoshop") and The Riot's Gone are lyrically modern records that speak to today's demographic.  Cheeky lyrics culminate with Look At These Hoes, a sort of edgier Nicki Minaj pastiche ("killer!").  Vocally, Santigold may not be the strongest singer but her musical voice reveals a real talent that slowly unfurls after repeated listening.

'Master Of My Make-Believe' is an edgy, tight album from one of the UK's coolest female artists.  With work that's stylistically difficult to define, Santigold's place in the industry after a four year hiatus may be in jeopardy, but this is aggressive, urban music that demands your attention.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Disparate Youth
* This Isn't Our Parade
* Look At These Hoes

Listen: 'Master Of My Make-Believe' is available now.

Watch: Santigold is touring the US for much of the next few months.