London based diva SLK recently released new EP “Form” on the Prism label last week, securing a position in the ranks of alt-soul songstresses Sampha, Jessie Ware and Banks. SLK, with these other current “alt-soul” figureheads is bringing an old school vocal technique into a new, and decidedly electronic-based industry. Poised to be one the genre’s new darlings, she’s already received nods from Noisey, MTV, BBC Radio and MTV amongst others. Produced by Embody, Form held my attention, as it’s one of the more eerie R&B based EP’s that has fallen into my hands in recent memory. The traditional themes of loss and heartbreak are included but it is just so much darker than that. The typical melancholy is tempered with that alt-electronic influence, as the form of it overall ventures more into those shadowy yet impactful genres.
The EP begins with an absolutely spine-chilling intro, with eerie synth stylings and a slow steady beat that prepares for the pitch black we are about to enter. SLK’s croons are subtle enough to blend into the rest of the track but are still clearly heard as an opening.
Second track “Ride” is where the songstress really begins to showcase her vocal abilities, which come in ethereal yet strong with a distinct sense of inner darkness and old school soul. “Open your eyes…” she croons to someone who is not entirely defined to us over a steady clicking beat that goes out with a waver.
“Be,” shows her lower range, in deep rasps sung over ominous synths and that same steady click that keeps the track moving throughout. She says that, “silence becomes the loudest sound,” which is a notion of heartbreak that the listener can easily relate to.
“Interlude,” is where we are completely immersed in darkness, with synth effects that echo low moans and leave us with an uncanny, unsettled feeling that pushes the rest of the EP through to the end.
Fifth track “Pour,” is perhaps some of the best slowed down alt-soul we find on the album, which remains dark but with some experimentation in the upper vocal range by SLK, with fluttering overtones and sensual “ooo’s,” throughout. The distorted spoken word vocals only had to this new electronic take on soul music.
The EP finishes out with my personal favorite “Call,” which is an intense, driving track from beginning to end and evokes that anxiety that anyone in love has felt. You can almost hear her anxieties blasting through the microphone as the track bangs out that impressionable phrase, “Call for me, call tonight,” and slows down for no more than a few seconds at a time.
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