Aisha Badru makes an impressive label debut courtesy of Pendulum.
The LP puts its best foot forward as the opener ‘Mind on Fire’ takes hold of the ear. With an acoustic guitar clacking out a simple rhythm Badru, uses her melodic vocal tones to hum the backing track. The minimalist arrangement sets the stage for the New York artist’s confident, energized, and sweet voice.
The American sings:
“Have you seen the girl with the mind on fire? She set out to tell the world how they suppress our desires. Said she wouldn’t back down ’till the rules were amended and she didn’t give a f**k who she offended“.
It’s a strong lyrical offering that appears to tell of a protagonist looking to reignite her personal fire and make a difference to the world. It’s the LP’s most captivating track, which helps to propel the listener through the rest of what is an enjoyable auditory experience.
‘Bridges’ and ‘Navy Blues’ also impress on the album’s top half. The latter finds Badru reflecting on a toxic relationship with an antagonist who looks to tear down the partnership all the while maintaining the pretence of love.
“you kicked me down I got back up now. The scars I wear are fading”.
The tracks instrumentation again plays its role well with the violin’s melody proving a gentle accompaniment to the singer’s journey out of her misery.
In promotional material for the project it was revealed that the musician found her producer by scouring the pages of Google. An unorthodox approach you might say, but certainly a prosperous one.
Chris Hutchison Brings the acoustic and the electronic together well, with the artificial complementing the acoustic rather than overshadowing it.
Whether it’s the futuristic distorted backing vocals on ‘Bridges’, the drip drip drip opening of ‘Fossil Fuels’ or, the piano drum combination on ‘Just Visiting’, the producer holds the listener’s attention, whilst maintaining a tranquil easy listening mood.
The second half of the nine-song set isn’t quite as strong as the first.
‘Fossil Fuels’ takes a good shot at being lyrically fresh but, stretches in trying to pair up “precipitation” and “reciprocation” as representatives for love and life. Meanwhile, album bookends ‘Splintered’ and ‘Dreamer’ fall into the well-trodden category of ‘life’s a bit crummy right now but the solution is within us if only we would wake up.’
The songs by no means make for a bad ending, but they don’t match up to the rest of the strong Pendulum.