Possessing the kind of airy falsetto so feather light it could float away at any moment, Ontario chanteuse Jessy Lanza has inevitably picked up comparisons with fellow high-pitched Canadian Grimes. But her debut album, Pull My Hair Back, has more in common with the luxurious electronic R&B of Toronto husband-and-wife team New Look than the glitchy future-pop of Claire Boucher.
Indeed, released through Hyperdub, the London-based label synonymous with UK dubstep and grime, these nine spacious tracks are certainly aimed more at the bedroom than the dancefloor with producer Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys) opting to bathe Jessy Lanza’s dreamy ethereal vocals in a suitably sensual blend of bubbling basslines, glistening synths and slow jam beats.
This deliberate attempt to ‘resurrect the golden age of R&B’ regularly produces stunning results. The gorgeously melancholic closer “Strange Emotion” sounds like a long-lost Quiet Storm classic as covered by Aaliyah. Lead single “Kathy Lee” is a magnetic fusion of finger-clicks, softly whispered melodies and hypnotic chants that’s steamier than a Swedish sauna, while the equally lustful “5785021” is a pure “booty call” set against a backdrop of ice-cool synths and staccato beats.
But Pull My Hair Back is just as alluring when it ups the tempo, as on the throbbing deep house of “F*** Diamond,” the video game bleeps and thunderous percussion which interrupt the slightly tetchy “As If,” and the shimmering sleek disco-pop of “Keep Moving.”
As with the countless other female-fronted post-R&B records which have arrived over the past twelve months, Pull My Hair Back is probably just a little too sparse and subtle to attract any mainstream attention. But those who investigate its seductive charms are unlikely to be disappointed.