Loraine James follows up 2020’s Nothing EP with Reflection, her second full length for UK institution Hyperdub. Written during the lockdown summer of 2020, it explores themes of isolation, introspection and hope across eleven tracks.
Technicolour, futuristic pop productions meld with R&B, drill and bass spectrum elements; a sonic exploration of contemporary black and queer narratives. For the Hyperdub collectors the crunchy eskibeat of ‘Self Doubt’ will no doubt be a welcome trip, with more wistful melancholic moments to be found on spoken word lament ‘Reflection’ and the Baths collaboration ‘On The Lake Outside’.
There’s a backbone of club pressure throughout too, with ‘Let’s Go’ and the skippy 2-step of ‘Simple Stuff’ primed to be deadly on a big soundsystem. There’s a sweetly skewed pop sensibility ingrained throughout the album, which shines through on leftfield cloud rap opener ‘Built To Last’ with Xzavier Stone, and the heads down UK hip hop of ‘Black Ting’ with Le3 Black.
‘Running Like That’ with Eden Samara takes it a level up - a slice of weighty, future rnb which is surely set to be a crossover success. However even in those brighter and more accessible moments of clarity, there’s a discordance and turbulence just one step behind it. The beats prang and shuffle, synth notes warp out of shape, bass stabs licked with snarling distortion. This is an electric and stunningly ambitious album, built on real feeling.