“Featuring Kilo Kish” and “by Kilo Kish” strike distinctive. Even though Kish’s breezy, playful voice turns wry, manic, and bubbly in her collaborations with Vince Staples and Gorillaz, that array not often carried around to her solo work—especially her early new music, which tended to be indistinct irrespective of its diaristic accounts of existence in New York Metropolis. For Reflections in Authentic Time, her 2016 debut, Kish dialed up the autobiography but struggled to assert a musical identification, her songwriting hamstrung by scattershot output. Things began to simply click on EPs Mothe (2018) and Redux (2019), still left-subject forays into throbbing electronic music that traded her signature whisper-raps for billed singing. For American Gurl, a notion album about consumerism, she ventures into pop. The change does not generally pay off, but Kish seems renewed and self-assured.
When Kish began to lean toward electronic music on her EPs, she credited undertaking reside with the improve in way, stating it built her find seems that matched the spunk and angst of her personalized existence. The other critical variable was producer Ray Brady (Vince Staples, Santigold, Black Eyed Peas), who manufactured Mothe and Redux in their entirety (and much of Reflections). The bracing instrumentals he equipped for these information, characterized by thick slabs of bass marbled with strobing synths and fizzy melodies, assisted Kish hone the kinetic supply on display screen right here. She not often employs the lithe, conversational whispers that had been the cornerstone of her early tunes, alternatively bouncing from breathy melodies to raspy coos to fleet rapping. If Mothe and Redux were being the proofs of strategy for her pop pivot, American Gurl is the finished structure, presenting Kish as a madcap shapeshifter.
Yet again teaming solely with Brady, Kish phases the album as a retro arcade sport, employing the principle to hop genres and smuggle social commentary into outwardly exciting tunes. Reminiscent of Santigold’s 99¢, Kish generally speaks as and likens herself to a product or service. “Do you see me?/Missing my deal with in the Tv,” she chants on “TV Baby V.2 (Latch Essential March).” On “Distractions III: Spoiled Rotten,” a stick to-up to two meandering tracks from her debut, she’s pithy and arch. “I ain’t shit/But I can shell out to deal with it,” she sings about a frothy residence conquer.
“You want it/I received it/This soul is/A cut price,” Kish raps in excess of hilarious Vince Staples advertisement-libs on “New Tips: Art, Aesthetics, and Income,” the album’s ideal song. Its gelatinous bass kicks, machine store SFX, and sneering choose on fame would be right at residence on Big Fish Idea, to which Kish and Brady the two contributed. However, it is pretty a lot Kish’s track, her verses skewering the grim nexus of artwork and commerce and her willingness to enable the two blend.
American Gurl fumbles when Kish tones down the sarcasm and guns for straight-up pop. It’s a hard promote. A quantity of choruses are garbled and anticlimactic, fracturing music alternatively than holding them with each other. Also, her beat choices really don’t often participate in to her strengths. The frantic rhythm of “Choice Cowboy” outpaces her sedate singing. And on “Attention Politician,” Brady’s screeching synths swallow her voice total. American Gurl’s apt sequencing and consistent forward movement hold these lapses from stopping the bash, but Kish’s game could use some debugging. For now, her pop instincts aren’t as sharp as her wit.