Solange is cool. True story.
Solange is like the cooler younger sister you never had. Unless you are Beyonce. Whilst her famous sibling is a useful reference when working out why the name Solange might ring a bell, musically the comparison isn’t so helpful. Although there may be a familial slinky flutter in her voice, Solange’s musical offering, its sound, its look and its feel proves a stark departure from the luscious poppy R&B of her famous older sister.
Solange released an LP, Solo Star, in 2003 and another in 2008 called Sol-Angel and The Hadley St Dreams and whilst the second received positive reviews and some commercial success, it’s True, Solange’s new EP released late 2012, which feels like her most pure and self-assured musical incarnation. Watch the video for the EP’s single Losing You and you will immediately pick up what Solange is putting down – cool, a bit weird, easily digested funky pop with an unusual lingering aftertaste.
The songs work most convincingly when the music is pressed up so closely to the best aspects of Solange’s voice that the combination is like an indecent slow dance, light and teasing on the surface with a naughty, simmering subtext. Losing You is a good example of this, the tone of the song is light and poppy but the fragile, smooth hooks in Solange’s voice perfectly compliment the slightly desperate sense of the lyrics. Look Good With Trouble feels achy but in a good way, the soft soulfulness of her voice flirting wistfully with pulsing drums and the idea of really getting someone into trouble.
Musically True is quite sparse and uses the same elements over and over again, tinny programmed drums, light synths, dorky keyboard and references to the 80’s, sort of like Madonna but if she was sleepy or singing underwater. If there are flat moments it is when these musical elements aren’t quite complimenting her voice, Lovers In the Parking Lot for example feels a bit disjointed.
In line with Solange’s voice, True never builds to a full blown crescendo but rather the EP works really well as a whole, softly and deliciously simmering along the course of the 7 songs.
Review by Ebe Cassidy