It’s 2010s hip-hop meets trap then softened to evoke some of the early 00s downbeat feels in the production stakes – thanks to beatmaker Shshi. And then a siren-singing voice swoons atop singing heavenly songs of heartbreak. Emily Riordan’s EP Waves is an impressive collaboration between vocalist and producer – a showcase for her voice and songs. Four tunes here – Angel, Breathe, Highlights, Aftertaste – which hint at some of my favourite producer/vocal combos from the late 90s/early 00s (Aim, Everything But The Girl, Massive Attack) but stands up on its own away from any earnest tracing; this is music borne of experience and experimenting, it’s no copycat motivation, more settling into a groove that the listener can find their own comparisons and connections to.
I like the slightly darker areas this touches on – the lyric of Breathe, the backing of Aftertaste – I think there’s a place Riordan could move to from here, an accessible version of darkwave, mine the ambient textures, set up deep, dark moods. I feel like this EP, though, as a business card of sorts, shows the talent, the overall space (dramatic ballads that never outstay their welcome, that fit within the innovative production strictures of the day, that move and sway and have something to say) and the closing vocal round of Aftertaste is the winning gut-punch I needed when listening to this.