Ambitious, genre-melting, world-building, poetic Black sonic confuzzion from Brooklyn's L'Rain. "Fatigue" refuses to stay still for a moment, dissolving blues, gospel, jazz, experimental electronics, prog, new age and psych rawk into a luscious, theatrical production that practically jumps from the speakers.
'Fatigue' is multi-instrumentalist producer Taja Cheek's second album and sounds like a fully-realized work in a way that few albums really do right now. Cheek makes pop music, but it's shot thru with a thirst for experimentation that feels vivid, unhinged and completely absorbing. Refusing to stay in a single place for long - her songs are broadly influenced by vintage R&B, classic pop and high-minded prog or jazz fusion, but each is dipped in the sparkling essence of a plethora of wide-ranging sounds and ideas.
'Find It' is bluesy, soulful and driving, but mid-way through melts into screaming ambience, with haunted vocals, distant choirs and lifted horns. 'Suck Teeth' is gauzy, psychedelic and jazzy, with funk bass underpinning Cheek's sensual vocals, but gradually increases the pressure until it bursts into almost vintage metal by the final squeak. 'Two Face' might be our fave, all kaleidoscopic Stereolab-esque wyrd funk, that drifts thru clouds of noise and echoing vocals with surprising grace.
"Fatigue" is charming, smart and brilliantly realized. It sounds huge and shows Cheek's impressive production prowess, but retains a memorable pop simplicity while tackling heady, visceral subject matter and experimenting with wildly divergent production. It sounds like the rich history of Black American music but refuses to be constrained by its legacy, letting loose through culture and pointing to the future with eager caution.