This enjoyable album is distinguished by Fall's multi-layered vocal inflections, which shine amidst myriad flourishes of afro-centric rhythms that reach well beyond typical dance tracks or pop tunes. With roots in Cameroon and Senegal, the well-established NYC singer-songwriter has worked at the apex of musical theatre, including roles in Passing Strange and the revival of Hair.
Fall definitely understands many techniques of vocally "selling" a song and her compositional chops make for engaging, party playlist pieces. The way she phrases relatable introspective insecurities without getting too dreary is another of her strengths. The record enjoys solid support from a fine band, including a trio of brass players who display their skills over multiple formulas.
African accents and Broadway basics combine for a unique mix of upbeat, romantic themes. High energy and reflective lyrics in songs such as "Between Two Worlds" indicate she would be a wonderful performer to see in concert, especially considering her impressive, theatre-based resume. Though she still has a considerable way to go before achieving comparable success, Fall's aesthetic shows similarity to Janelle Monae and it shouldn't be a surprise if Fall gains notice as someone approaching similar status.
"Now" is a minimalistic piece which echoes with primary vocals and percussion. Hazy accentuations impact harder contrasts while subtle supporting instruments percolate in the background until a primary chorus launches over horn-based phrasing on the album's most traditionally jazz-based song. "SHE" is a valentine to New York City which illuminates the range of Fall's vocal register, and sounds like a well-fitting theme for an urban soundtrack. "Powerful" switches gears for a much more experimental cut, with highly engaging psychedelic undertones on a standout track hinting strongly that the further Fall ventures from mainstream formulas the more effective she is. The closing cut "Where are We Going?" takes even more chances with vibrant, isolated vocals which echo in repetition like a cosmic tribe's choral chant.
There seems to be a lot of forgettable self-indulgence at the forefront of newer mainstream pop these days. How long such trends last is anybody's guess. Whatever the case, Lulu Fall proves there's plenty more than just face time fodder being released. This record sounds stronger with every listen.
Between Two Worlds; Keep Your Head Up; Do You Love Me?; Now; SHE; Powerful; Runaway; Where Are We
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