Album Review

Niobe – “White Hats ” – [Tomlab]

Thurston Hunger   11/10/2006   A Library, CD

Niobe, aka Yvonne Cornelius has released three stellar and
unique albums, so this disc came with great expectations for
me. Her weirdness is definitely tranquilized on it, and
most tracks dabble with languid electro-pop. Gentle guitars
and eyeliner flash synth emulating strings under her singing
silky smooth. Without jagged juxtaposition, too often that
smoothness leads this album towards a mainstream dream. I
kept picturing this being played in the mall at boutique
clothing stores, especially the end track which ups the
tempo and lowers the bar to chintzy eurodisco. Young girls
smacking gum to the drumtrack robot whack. Re-listening
to the others, the ones where she worked with St. Lindemer
work the best. On “Well and Wise” and “Phosphorous”, they
hypertrack her vocals into a dizzying blend. On the title
track, the electric guitar drops splash in her voice pooled
deep in reverb. Some folks will fall in love with the breezy
romantic flow here, but I still prefer her earlier antics.

-Thurston Hunger

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