19 Jun 2024
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Blake - EP Review: Skeptical

06 Oct 2022 // A review by Danica Bryant

Queenstown-born, Auckland-based alt-pop starlet Blake is Skeptical on her newly released sophomore EP. It’s a smooth, soulful collection narrating the highs and lows of the dating scene, blending a range of genres into a compact pop format.

Despite Blake’s declaration that there’s “too much to do and too little time left” on title track Skeptical, the song packs a real punch into its radio-friendly runtime. Woozy ambient noise and airy vocal melodies flutter during the song’s introduction. Verses filled with light guitars and delicate keys give way into bouncier, bigger choruses, creating an intense contrast between each section that keeps the track dynamic and engaging. It’s a meaningful mission statement for Blake, whose artistic identity lies in this balance between fragility and bluntness.

Damn takes a satirical take on gender roles within relationships. It's dark, deep melodies pop over a warped bassline, as distorted as Blake's understanding of her place in the romance the lyrics dive into. The track is an EP highlight, but its incredibly brief runtime leaves the listener wanting almost too much more. It's followed by the relentlessly upbeat computerised aesthetics of CPU. CPU is a bouncy, hooky pop number, where Blake’s vocals sound clear and honeyed, but the simple production plays it a bit too safe, given the lyrical and thematic potential. Still, each line strongly showcases Blake’s relatability and honesty, making it feel as though she’s sharing a one-on-one conversation with her audience. This earnestness shines again on closing track You Don’t Decide, where Blake asserts her confidence after the EP’s complex journey into the early stages of love. The stripped-back finale leaves the project in the most honest and real place possible.

Blake’s Skeptical EP boasts a powerful artistic identity, in its sleek, personable visuals and clean, expressive production. Her passion is evident in each track, as is her frank personality and her willingness to open up to emotion. As polished as Blake’s performance is, she’s at her best when she showcases her most raw material across the Skeptical EP, which proves her an accomplished, impressive songwriter.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Blake

Hailing from Queenstown New Zealand, Blake spent the past five years in the UK honing her craft and immersing herself in the rich London Neo-Soul and Jazz scene. During her time in London, she was sought out by some of the UK’s top drum and bass producers to write and record vocals in the genre. She was nominated for 'Best Vocalist' at the 2017 Drum and Bass awards and has over 5 million streams on Spotify on her feature tracks, with releases across Hospital Records and Shogun Audio.

Her approach and philosophy in music is centred around authentic songwriting, re-telling personal experiences in metaphorically unique and interesting ways, taking influence from artists such as Jordan Rakei, Amy Winehouse and Julia Michaels. She released her debut EP Home Truth in 2019, which Clash branded as "meaningful pop with subtle soul and jazz influences". Blake is now working with some of New Zealand’s top emerging producers to complete her second EP project, blending her past and present musical influences of soul, electronic and pop music to generate something fresh and unique.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Blake

Releases

Skeptical
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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