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Album Review: Empress Of - Me

3 September 2015 | 4:23 pm | Christopher H James

"The differences between her and other electronic pop singers may be subtle but they're priceless."

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Time to sound the narcissism alert? Ordinarily, anyone with the audacity to call their debut album Me might expect to get a glass of cold water thrown over them. But the origins of Me reveal that Lorely "Empress Of" Rodriguez isn't afraid to tread her own path. Rejecting calls from her record label to team up with a super-producer, Rodriguez retreated alone to rural Mexico for five weeks to pen this, her debut album.

A statement of brave originality, Me is the work of someone determined to work their art out for themselves, and it's among 2015's freshest-sounding albums to date. Its production is immaculate. The rippling keys of Water Water excite while the striking arpeggios of Kitty Kat, her diatribe against ubiquitous cat calls and wolf whistles, are dynamic and compelling.

But it may be her voice that is Rodriguez's strongest card. While the album gets underway with the dressage of vocal tricks that is Everything Is You, she elsewhere demonstrates a Hope Sandoval-esque capacity for expressing much without running up and down scales. Most importantly, Rodriguez's music doesn't sound like anyone else. The differences between her and other electronic pop singers may be subtle but they're priceless in establishing her as a unique proposition.

Me isn't a perfect debut. For every alluring melody there's another that's a little awkward or forced, but it all confirms Rodriguez has a deep well of talent to draw on.

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