With her CUT 4 ME mixtape, Kelela was another voice entering the increasingly crowded realm of alt-R&B last year, but she set herself apart by matching the type of earnest, evocative vocals you’d hear in the ’90s with squiggly, unpredictable productions that seemed to come from the 2090s. After that, the L.A. singer landed on the Solange-curated Saint Heron compilation, along with Jhene Aiko, Sampha, Cassie and more. Now she has linked up with British producer Bok Bok (who had some credits on her mixtape) for “Melba’s Call” off his forthcoming EP.
The beat is a thing of stuttering beauty, with slap bass and synths transformed into hiccuping clips, like another dimension’s version of Janet Jackson‘s Control. With such a distinctive arrangement, you’d think it would be easy for Kelela’s vocals to get lost in all the syncopation, but those pipes are the foundation of the whole song, and her voice ably floats and falls to keep up with the choppy beat.
Check out the video below.
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