Album of the week : Night Time, My Time - Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira’s struggle to define her career on her own terms is well documented. After signing a major label deal as a teenager, she resisted being moulded into a vapid pop tart and clashed over the direction of her music. Although she worked with several A-list collaborators - among them, Ryan Tedder, Bloodshy & Avant, and Greg Kurstin - release dates for a debut album came and went, as songs were scrapped and shelved. To date, the 21-year-old has released just a handful of singles and two EPs: 2011’s slick Europop effort As If! and last year’s eclectic Ghost, which nodded to Fiona Apple, Garbage, and frothy ’80s synthpop

So it’s both a relief and a bit of a shock that Night Time, My Time is not only here, but that it’s one of the most pleasingly conventional and cohesive pieces of pop-rock to come along this year. Unlike the uneven Ghost, which rode the success of Everything Is Embarrassing and used big-name collaborators to dabble in a sometimes-confusing assortment of styles - Shirley Manson-stamped grunge, singer-songwritery folk, electro-pop. Night Time, My Time finds Ferreira navigating her tastes more gracefully, bridging the gaps between 80s pop sparkle and full-bodied 90s grunge in a streamlined way. Her primary collaborator this time is producer Ariel Rechtshaid, a guy known for adding both big-league pop polish to smaller acts and fine-tuning to bigger ones

‘Boys’ is a blistering opener; a high-energy youth anthem that has the new wave strut of early Kim Wilde. Lead single, ‘You’re Not The One’, complete with leather-and-lights video, is a blistering kiss-off and ‘I Will’ has the propulsive energy of Blondie at their peak. None of these songs overstay their welcome and many of them hark back to the short, sharp thrill of the classic pop single. Not every song rocks out, though. Random mood-pieces like ‘Omanko’ and ‘Kristine’ slot well into the overall track listing despite their oddball nature. They may not be as impressive as some of the other tracks, but the album wouldn’t be quite the same without their ramshackle quirkiness

On the Robyn-esque ‘Love In Stereo’, she laments an imperfect breakup; and ‘24 Hours’ tries desperately to hang on to a perfect moment and stave off heartbreak, while ‘Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)’ expresses anger over, well, exactly what the title says

Yet Ferreira isn’t afraid to own her vulnerability. On the album’s most stunning song, the minimal electropop ‘I Blame Myself’, she acknowledges her notoriety (and, seemingly, her struggles in music), but seems to push the responsibility inward: “I blame myself for my reputation,” she sings confidently. The song’s strident tone- and the way it’s difficult to tell whether Ferreira is laying a guilt trip on someone or actually thinks she’s at fault - is deeply affecting. Ferreira has been rebelling against being packaged as perfect for years now. Night Time, My Time succeeds in portraying her as a complex person who’s successfully discovered her own voice

Buy it here

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