Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time

Even at the age of 21, Sky Ferreira has had a rollercoaster career.  Signed at a young age, she’s been engaged in multiple label disputes resulting in album delays and cancellations, working with a variety of songwriters and producers, and a constant fight for her own independence.  And that’s not to mention balancing her music with a modelling career and allegations of heroin addiction.

The major change has been the development of her style.  Ignoring her early glossy pop tracks 17, One and Obsession, Ferreira’s real breakthrough came with the breezy Dev Hynes produced Everything Is Embarrassing that hinted towards an 80s-inspired dance-pop sound.  Since then, her musical style has morphed again to incorporate new wave and punk-rock – both musically and visually she’s part Blondie, part Madonna, part Gwen Stefani.  Everything Is Embarrassing is still included on ‘Night Time, My Time’, tacked on at the end as a reminder of her past.

This debut has been a long time coming for UK fans.  It was originally released in the US back in October 2013 to favourable reviews, but has only just seen the light of day in the UK following some disappointing live performances and a distinct lack of fanfare.  Ferreira deserves more.

That said, the album itself is something of a bumpy ride, though it has frequent flashes of brilliance.  At its best it’s a frank angsty record of teenage relationships and identity issues, fusing electro and rock in a scuzzy, gritty concoction that’s conflicted yet cohesive.  Heavy Metal Heart features a rapid bass drum pulse beneath its blazing guitars that skirts both dance and metal; 24 Hours has a glittering pop melody; I Blame Myself has a laidback groove that reflects its contemplative lyrics (“You think you know me so well”, she spits seemingly referencing her label struggles); I Will is an obvious ode to Blondie.

None of these tracks quite live up to lead single You’re Not The One – one of the best pop tracks from the last few months.  The melismatic vocal hook, the slinky guitars, the strutting funk bass – it’s a brilliant blend of 80s shimmer and 90s grunge and a suitable vehicle for Ferreira’s brand of laissez-faire cool, especially in the seductive video.  Pop perfection.

However, ‘Night Time, My Time’ has its lows alongside its highs: the shouty chorus of Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay); the relentless throbbing of Omanko; the constantly modulating Kristine; the lumbering title track.  At times Ferreira’s snarling vocal has an air of cool ennui, at other times it simply falls flat.

Ferreira has inescapable appeal, though - her seductive attitude, unique personality and brazen star quality – that sets her apart from so many other pop acts.  For that reason alone this album deserves success, even as the truly brilliant outweighs the bad.  After a huge uphill battle, Ferreira is finally finding her feet with an accomplished album, but there’s still room for improvement.  The best is yet to come.


Gizzle’s Choice:
* I Blame Myself
* You’re Not The One
* Everything Is Embarrassing

Listen: ‘Night Time, My Time’ is available now.