Right up near the top of our list of favourite pop artists of all time is Robyn. No fooling, she is an incredible performer and writer of amazingly evocative, emotional and infectious pop songs. By all accounts she is also incredibly smart, savvy and knows more than just a thing or two about music and the industry. So when she says a new artist is good, you know you should take a listen. When she says of that artist, “When [she] sings the heavens open and the stars come down to hover over my head and I feel like anything is possible”, you know you need to stop what you are doing and pay full attention. When Robyn not only says those things but also makes this new artist the first ever signing to her own Konichiwa Records, it’s time to disconnect the phone.
Listening to Zhala’s new track (and the title track from her debut EP) “Prophet”, it’s not hard to understand why Robyn loves her fellow Swede so much. It’s breakneck speed dance pop full of electronic flourishes and tumbling twinkles of synths that were prominent on the Body Talk series. But it’s darker; so much darker, like there’s a strange unseen force at work kind of dark.
And it’s bonkers. Fantastically, brilliantly and overwhelmingly bonkers.
It’s a cosmic fairground of pop music, with rides and games of all shapes and sizes to play amongst the stars. It opens like the arrival through a wormhole to this crazy, bright and mutli coloured universe with Mos Eisley looking inhabitants and intergalactic carnival stalls. A fairly gentle and melodious opening soon bleeds into our first rollercoaster ride of the day as it gets a bit hectic and the beat begins to crash and surge. Then calm again as we move over to the teacups or the genteel undulations of the carousel before the lure of adrenaline takes hold and its back to the big dogs.
The keys go nuts, the beat explodes and the car hurtles amongst the stars, round planetary rings and overtakes comets as they race by. Scream if you want to go faster!
The ‘Prophet’ EP is out today via Konichiwa Records.