Music: 7 of the Best Songs – 16 May 2022

John Preston

John Preston shares his seven best new tracks of the week.

Shygirl, ‘Firefly’

Shygirl moves away her carefully constructed musical persona to share ‘Firefly’, a sweetly sung mid-tempo R&B track that mixes smooth two-step with a stuttering harpsichord riff like it was 2001 all over again. With her debut album, Nymph, now announced for September release, Shygirl presents a surprise softer side to her canon.

Mallrat, ‘To You’

After years of releasing acclaimed EPs and more underground collaborations, the Brisbane singer Mallrat has finally released her debut album Butterfly Blue. Alternating between indie guitar and more contemporary R&B (Azealia Banks features on the brilliant ‘Surprise Me’), the tempo never gets too frantic and the overall mood is one of floating, confident nonchalance.

The Smile, ‘The Same’

The current reincarnation of Radiohead is one of its most brilliant with their first album A Light for Attracting Attention being a huge success. Produced by Nigel Goodrich, of course, Thom Yorke is constantly at his sneering and satirical, predatory best, whilst a beautifully plush backdrop of beats, guitars and the London Contemporary Orchestra plays out alongside him.

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Leikeli47, ‘Jay Walk (feat. Ms Jay Alexander)’

Leikeli47’s album third album is finally here. It builds on her already intriguing musical choices, and her ability to rap and occasionally sing against tracks that are radically diverse and fascinating. Featuring hip -hop, hard flinty house and ballroom (‘Jay Walk’), and romantic slow jams – it’s all here and Leikeli47 easily dominates each style.

Ethel Cain, ‘A House in Nebraska’

To hear an ambitious and unexpectedly challenging debut album from any artist is both a treat and a rarity. There might be some hiccups along the way (the unwieldy playing time for one) but Cain has made a record which is hard to ignore, with several beautiful melodies and a genuinely palpable, oppressive mood that persists.

Desire, ‘Liquid Dreams’

Although still staying firmly within the parameters of the ethereal Italians Do It Better trademark synth sound, Desire has made another album that has genuine musical heft  and, as demonstrated on ‘Liquid Dreams’, a penchant for chunky, big-bass and disco beat thumpers. Magical stuff.

Rose Gray, ‘Synchronicity’

Rave maestro Alex Metric assists the exciting, London-based pop artist in making a slick and impactful electro banger. Rose Gray has always been open about her love for 80s and 90s pop and here she alludes to Madonna’s outlier single ‘Bedtime Stories’.

About 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.