Published May 11, 2016Since appearing out of seeming thin air in 2013 with her Hyperdub-released debut album, Pull My Hair Back, Hamilton, Ontario singer-producer Jessy Lanza has built an impressive reputation. In the last three years, she's added a Polaris Music Prize shortlist nomination, a guest appearance on Caribou's Our Love and 12-inches with Morgan Geist's the Galleria and DJ Spinn and Taso to her portfolio. Time moves fast for Lanza, though; her sophomore album, Oh No, hardly feels like it's taken three years to arrive.
The album's title, Oh No, reportedly arose from the feelings of anxiety Lanza has experienced since her career took off, but that's hardly discernible here. Lanza's second record reveals a more poised singer, songwriter and producer with plenty more tricks up her sleeve. In the opening seconds of "VV Violence," she gets in the listener's face to holler, "Yeah, I say it to your face but it doesn't mean a thing," before a potent drum machine muscles its way in. She follows that up with the feisty synth-pop of "Never Enough," which best demonstrates the Yellow Magic Orchestra influence she's spoken of. On "It Means I Love You," she uses footwork's influence to propel her declaration of love into a feverish floor-filler.
Once again, Lanza brought in partner Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys) for technical production, and they don't completely abandon the minimalist approach of Pull My Hair Back that struck such a powerful chord with listeners. Stripped-down percussion and piano chords characterize "I Talk BB," leaving plenty of space to let her falsetto soar, and there is the simplest of undulating synths accompanying slow jam "Begins."
On Oh No, Jessy Lanza reveals a range of new emotions, influences and styles, further establishing a distinctive sound that blurs the lines even more between pop and club music. (Hyperdub)