Toronto-based artist LOONY has released her debut EP ‘JOYRiDE’ after a year of single releases that left the world in awe of her talents. To say I’m excited about this release is a total understatement! ‘JOYRiDE’ takes you on a journey that sounds not dissimilar to one you might hear from Solange – it’s cruisey, it’s smooth, it’s soulful and it’s deeply addictive.
The EP opens with ‘Prelude’, an interlude full of layered vocal samples and smokey synths that build so quickly, instead of reaching a crescendo, you’re instead thrust into ‘JOYRiDE’’s second track, ‘iN CODE’. From the very beginning of ‘iN CODE’, you’re feeling like you’re in a bright, sunny, bubbly-pop dream. The vocals are joyful, the gospel-esque harmonies are uplifting and the piano track makes you feel like you’re in a very modern musical theatre piece. It’s perky, it’s fun and it’s not what you’d expect to hear first up on LOONY’s debut.
The happiness you feel on ‘iN CODE’ flows onto ‘JOYRiDE’’s second track, ‘WHiTE LiE’, however, this track does have a more electronic core. We start things off with creamy synths and delicate samples trickling over ghostly harmonies before a funky beat builds and brings LOONY’s incredible vocals into the mix. The vocals flow so well and there’s also a nice juxtaposition to them because they have so much gusto and strength, whilst also being very delicate and sweet.
‘NO!’ leans more into the electronic sphere, with delicate percussion kicking off the track over clicking samples and ghostly synths. A light guitar melody comes in alongside the vocals, but ‘NO!’ definitely leans more on the synths than the acoustic guitar. The great part about LOONY’s work is that she can blend genres together seamlessly and do it in very subtle ways. On ‘JOYRiDE’, we can fully experience her versatility because we go from one end of the musical spectrum to another, but it’s very gradual, with small changes slowly guiding us to new places every time a new track starts. ‘NO!’ is definitely a turning point on the EP, where you start to realise you’ve been transported somewhere different. Then ‘SUMMERTiME/CiGARETTES’ begins and you know for sure that there’s been a change, but you might not be able to pick up exactly where that change was because it was so subtle.
‘SUMMERTiME/CiGARETTES’ is a great song because it’s actually two tracks in one. The first half of the track has a beautiful guitar track that swims with LOONY’s airy vocals and creates a sleepy vibe. It makes you feel like you’ve just woken up from a long sleep in and you feel REALLY good about it. Then, at the 1:33 mark, the song changes direction and the vocal track becomes darker, distorted and a heavy beat follows a very soft horn sample. We’re now almost in jazz territory, but it’s so soft. It’s dreamy jazz if there even is such a thing.
Closing the EP is ‘GHOSTS’, a track with a killer guitar riff and vocals that are sharp and sassy. This is the track you’ll groove to when you’re feeling strong, confident and ready to take on the world. It may not seem like it when you first listen to it but play it again and you’ll feel the power in ‘GHOSTS’ and it’ll engulf you.
This may be LOONY’s debut EP, but this girl clearly has a lot to give and if ‘JOYRiDE’ can tell us anything about her, it’s that she’s a musical force to be reckoned with. She can go from perky pop to dreamy jazz, funky electronica and back again whilst still telling a story and if you don’t think that’s true talent, then I don’t know what to tell you.