The interesting thing about electronica — music made with twists of nobs, loops, layers, mechanical noise — is the way it can be so utterly emotional and raw, even when there’s nothing natural about it. Of course, that emotionality is helped when you have a pain inflicted voice that sings of love and love lost. Sydney artist Charmaine Kingston’s, aka BUOY, second EP Break is just that – unpredictable, production heavy; churning pain into music.

In her second EP, Kingston’s assurance is ten-fold from where it was on Immersions; confidently playing with Drum and Bass, experimenting with her vast and nuanced vocals. She makes her tales of love euphoric, staying away from dark tones in favour of something lighter and more palatable.

Where Kingston shows her command best is in EP opener, ‘Exit’, where her enticing requests to “take the exit…while the sun is bright / feed the birds / see the water sparkle” is paired with rustling percussion and a playful, keyboard melody makes it feel as though these requests are only fantasies. This builds into a frustration, a flurry of drum and bass, and unrelenting vocals, pleading to “take the exit.”

Kingston follows this climactic structure on the last track on the EP, ‘Everything Must Change’ but unfortunately a visceral and sensory experience is not achieved as it is on ‘Exit’. The looping, abrasive production, matched with her nasal vocals too forced for something considered art pop.

Then there’s frequent radio feature, ‘Clouds & Rain’. Buoy can be easily compared to British artist BANKS and on ‘Clouds & Rain’ the comparison is more prevalent than in any other track. Both these artists are modern day heroes for women, singing love songs with a huge amount of edge and strength — the sweet stuff is useless. But Kingston retains her graceful femininity, despite the torrent of instruments supporting her. And that’s what it is, support, there is no jarring or drowning.

‘Break’ is an excellent EP. BUOY manages to make mechanical embrace the emotive, and it works damn well.

Rating: ★★★★

BUOY is also kicking-off her ‘Break EP Tour’ next week at BIGSOUND in Brisbane, before moving on to Sydney and Melbourne (click the artwork below for more details)

BUOY - Break EP Tour' - acid stag

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author: Natalia Morawski