The Toronto-based a l l i e has been touted as one to watch for a few years now, and Nightshade further validates the designation. As part of the so-called new wave of Canadian groove-oriented artists and producers (which includes names like River Tiber, Harrison, Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson), a l l i e brings to the table an eclectic musical palette, along with a distinct aural and visual aesthetic. She is the master of her artistic domain, creating a specific future-minded sound in her home studio.
Nightshade is a series of creative meditations on love, life, sexuality and perpetual states of being. Tracks like "Let Her" and "No Forever" dutifully set the expansive soundstage — spacey, otherworldly and electronically affected. A single like "Broken Telephone" defies categorization, feeling out notes of pop and soul all at once.
Working with producers like River Tiber, 2nd Son, Harrison and Birthday Boy contribute to Nightshade's overarching meditative mode, which permeates the thoughtful "Bad Habits," the groove-heavy "Take Me There" (featuring Charlotte Day Wilson), and the bounce of "Move Like a Mystic." The reflective groove of "The Reminder," ironically, stands as the least memorable track here, but it's still a powerful song in its own right.
Taken as a whole, Nightshade is the result of an artist clearly committed to maintaining an independently creative artistic vision. This is a l l i e's breakout project, and it's right on time. (Independent)