Portugal's Naive celebrates its fifth anniversary with the first LP in the label's history, the debut album from London-based producer, DJ and Rinse FM host ELLES.
Eleanor Pinfold aka ELLES has been working with Naive boss Violet for years, collaborating on a slew of singles and EPs, and releasing solo material on both Naive and sublabel Naivety. Now she's finally completed her debut album, a poppy slush of influences described as “a love letter to friends, lovers and anyone who has been lost and found in the dance.” The album is rooted in ELLES' voice, which she manipulates, obscures and loops over a flexible backdrop of squelchy acid, boxy electro, damaged jungle and vintage house. At its core it's a pop album, but ELLES brings a DJ's knowledge of dance culture to "A Celebration of the Euphoria of Life", meeting her songwriting in the middle, and bridging the gape between '80s electro-pop and '90s dance anthems.
'I Think I Feel Sumthing' is a prime example of this, matching rolling Chicago house chords with choppy breaks and layered vocals. 'Coming Up Is Such Sweet Sorrow' is similarly throwback, but materializes into a downtempo space, with spoken word vocals placed over gentle pads, brittle liquid rhythms and synthesized strings. The album's lead single 'Anthem' is the most memorable track, settling into a dubby, loved-up 2-step groove that's between vintage Saint Etienne and EL-B.
And it's not all radio pop and roses either: the album dips into weirder territory with 'Dry Ur Tears', squeezing choppy 2-step elements and quirky vocals thru SOPHIE-esque metallic sound design crunches, crashing wave sounds and orchestral strings, while the suggestive 'Candyflip 69' and 'Sex' offer the album a breath of psychedelic, sensual electroid fuzz.