Review: Kali Uchis — Isolation

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 at 6:00 PM
Review: Kali Uchis — Isolation by Britton Rozzelle

★★★★☆

After years of being a featured artist on works with everyone from Tyler, The Creator to Damon Albarn, 24 year-old Kali Uchis has found her voice on her debut album, “Isolation.” The whole LP, full of dreamy instrumentation and drawn-out production, calls back to Amy Winehouse while still saying something new and proving that Uchis’ voice and perspective is worth listening to. Taking a modern look at a lovelorn heart, unfaithful partners and addictions (good and bad), Uchis delves into the harder to describe aspects of celebrity life, ultimately creating an unexpectedly memorable narrative for a debut LP.

A master of neo-soul, Uchis shines on songs like “Flight 22” and “Dead to Me,” two very different tracks (the former being a dreamy airline-based romance and the latter being an upbeat anthem for those who just won’t leave her alone) that showcase her versatility and conceptual ability. A personal favorite, “Feel Like a Fool,” specifically reminds listeners of legend Amy Winehouse, with jazz horns and drums underscoring her wildly unique voice and love-struck, dreamy-eyed lyrics with that bite of wit that makes it memorable.

Uchis holds her own on solo tracks, but some of the standouts from “Isolation” come from star-studded features. “Just A Stranger,” featuring The Internet’s Steve Lacy, is a certified banger with eccentric production and off-tune chords. “In My Dreams,” feels like an early-2000s alt-bop, weak at first, that transforms once Uchis calls on Damon Albarn for his trademark tenor in the final act.

It’s in this, however, that the album stumbles — having almost too many ideas that it could come across as being scattered across its 46 minute runtime, bouncing between positive, negative and the grey areas in between. Towards the end it does begin to feel one-note, but without overstaying its welcome because there is a genuine nature to her songs that draws us in.

If nothing else, “Isolation” stands on its own as a solid proof-of-concept for the young artist, showing that if left unchecked, Uchis will be a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

I for one, am looking forward to it. 

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