Album review: Miya Folick – Premonitions

John Preston

John Preston

South London based music obsessive with strong opinions about most things. Doubts Madonna has another good record in her but would love more than anything to be proved wrong.
John Preston

LA native and singer-songwriter Miya Folick has taken her time to settle on and refine a sound. Her debut album, Premonitions, is certainly assured but rarely predictable.

Folick has many moods and a wonderful voice that can turn from a relatable every-girl falsetto to an animalistic growl on a whim. With that also comes an accomplished understanding of how to incorporate contradicting emotions into smartly written pop songs.

Premonition begins quietly with ‘Thingamajig’. As if revisiting Imogen Heap’s signature sound from the mid-noughties, Folick uses wordless vocal samples and strings which gradually crowd her repeated plea of ‘only you know what to do now’.

The title track that follows is smooth and soulful power pop. But it’s not until the bruising, sweet-and-sour swing of ‘Cost Your Love’ that the audacious diversity of the album becomes clear.

‘Stock Image’ is jangle pop with vivid lyrical imagery (‘Feeling empty outside of your outline / you scratch at the door of the divine’) whilst the possessed frenzy of ‘Freak Out’ sounds exactly how you hope it would given its title.

Justin Raisen expertly produces the majority of Premonitions with a finely tuned ear. He supports Folick’s obsession with pre-noughties singers (Bjork’s schizophrenic style jumble, Post, was a major influence) and therefore jumps straight over any current radio trends to establish a sound that is timeless and not dated, full of small, fascinating details and massive hooks.

The album’s most exciting and accomplished highlights are the furthest apart when it comes to mood, tension and vocal style.

The dramatic intensity of ‘Deadbody’ is reminiscent of Fiona Apple at her most unforgiving and fucked off. ‘Over my dead body’ is the warning message enforced again and again by Folick’s wondrously steely stare-down. The gauzy and swirling ‘Baby Girl’ which follows has a weightlessness which never undermines the song’s important examples of formative young-adult friendships.

Giddy, volatile but emotionally astute and self-possessed, Premonitions sets Miya Folick up with a standout debut album that consistently delivers the most thoughtful of pop gems.