Dallas, Texas native Liv.e is somewhat of a soul and R&B legend of the independent scene in the last decade or so. Her incredible unique voice and artistic versatility make her one of the interesting musicians working today, and this became even more evident with the release of her breakout official 2020 album Couldn’t Wait To Tell You.... The hypnotic, soothing and soulful album was full of dizzying yet soulful and funky production, as well as Liv.e’s passionate vocals that glaze over the beautifully dense and layered production. It was a phenomenal debut, and she just carried that energy and amplified it on her new, sophomore album Girl In The Half Pearl. On first listen I was absolutely hooked by the house and electronic-infused beat, still having that soulful, glistening funk we’re used to with her music. Interestingly, as well, “the album’s artistic shifts developed during her time experimenting with live performance in London earlier this year while under residency at London’s Laylow”, one of which I was a part of – she performed a few feet from where I was standing.
The 17-track album spans about 41 minutes, and from track one, the immersion into her poetic, rhythmic and groovy sound is joyful to experience. “Gardetto” starts off with disorienting synths and Liv.e repeating “Oh No!” repeatedly, before delving into this intense drum break that pulsates intensely throughout. The sweet synths and vocal performance make this an excellent opener. The spacy, ethereal Mndsgn-produced “Lake Psilocybin” is a standout on the album, with the lavish synths and Liv.e’s introspections on love and being, perfectly captured by her pure and honey-smooth vocals make for an incredible listen. The drum n bass beat on “Ghost” is crazy, and the distorted and loud vocals are overpowering but in the best possible way. “Find Out” is another highlight, with its punchy sample / beat, dreamy synths and exceptionally smooth melody throughout. “Heart Break Escape” is another exceptional track, with a fat bassline that grooves throughout the atmospheric synths, with beats that bring the track to life, with Liv.e talking about love and the need to go to the bar and get intoxicated. “HowTheyLikeMe!” is a great, while the beat on “Snowing!” is phenomenal, and one of my favourites on the entire album. Liv.e’s mystical voice is the backdrop of this pulsating groove that is just infectious. Her experimentation with electronic music, incorporating its use a lot more throughout this project than previous ones. “Wild Animals” brings it back to a more soulful setting, produced by Solomonophonic & John Carroll Kirby, is exceptional too. “RESET”, “Underground” and “Back Alley” are more melodic and slow-paced tracks, while “Our Father” has this disorienting synth sample that complements her animated vocal tone. “NoNewNews!!!” has a beautiful piano melody, complemented by quirky electronic effects and her usually poignant voice. “Glass Shadows” closes the album out with a sweet soulful and playful melody, being the perfect way to end such a beautiful, immersive listening experience.
What can I say that hasn’t been said before. Liv.e exceeded all expectations on an album that is pretty flawless from start to finish. It will undeniably go down as one of my favourite albums of the year, even though we’re still in mid-February. The electronic music influences, the experimental soul sound and Liv.e’s unique vocal delivery, her introspections and insight, really make this album a special one. Listen to Liv.e’s excellent new album Girl In The Half Pearl below and don’t forget to support!
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