h

The best (and worst) new singles this week: Ferla, Jessica Pratt, and more

Led by dynamic Melbourne pop connoisseurs Ferla.

Single of the Week:

Ferla : Voodoo (Independent)

Structured around one chord, ‘Voodoo’ is an exercise in mounting tension. Chord changes tend to provide a sense of release and resolve, but by forgoing these functions Ferla bring us into contact with the heat propelling their songwriting. Freud viewed art as a manifestation of redirected sexual instincts – popular music provides limitless support for this notion, but rarely do songs manage to feel so palpably libidinal while also avoiding vulgarity.

Jessica Pratt : This Time Around (City Slang/Inertia)

Jessica Pratt’s music is like an apparition; her songwriting is equal parts familiar and inscrutable. The Californian’s releases give the impression of being left over from a bygone era. But while folk recordings from 50-odd years ago possessed a lo-fi haze out of necessity, Pratt employs this production technique as an emotive tool. There’s a temptation to describe Pratt’s songwriting as fragile, but bolstered by jazz-folk chord changes, ‘This Time Around’ is another example of her deft compositional attributes.

Cool Out Sun : Yelelle Skins (House of Beige)

N’fa Jones grows in vitality with every passing year. The personality out front of ‘Yelelle Skins’ shows no indication of being a 20-year veteran of the Aussie hip hop scene. Jones’ electric performance is boosted by the afro beat backing provided by producer Sensible J and percussionists Nui Moon and Lamine Sonko. But the MC leads the way, manipulating his voice into another layer of percussion while making a positive declaration of racial equality.

Boygenius : Souvenir (Matador Records / Remote Control Records)

American indie musicians Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus combine as Boygenius. ‘Souvenir’ is a magnetic highlight from the trio’s self-titled EP – an acoustic-led ballad that’s as elegantly presented as it is genuinely heart-stirring. Supergroups have a tendency to favour their own amusement over enduring song craft, but here the three songwriters merge their respective gifts in a way that avoids clutter or showboating. ‘Souvenir’ foreshadows a prosperous future for Boygenius.