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Princess Chelsea: The Great Cybernetic Depression - review

Aug 15, 2015 Music

GreatCyberneticIf Princess Chelsea — and the extended musical repertory company that is the Lil Chief label — has a flaw, it’s a tendency to lapse into pastiche. At its best though, it cleverly skirts with an evocation of simpler times and sweeter pop tropes, while remaining clearly within the present tense.

Chelsea Nikkel does just that on the follow-up to the similarly charming Lil’ Golden Book (2011), but The Great Cybernetic Depression finds its inspiration in a period of disquiet and unhappiness.

No soul-searching for the Princess, though. The depths of her interrogation of depression consist of wan, defeatist lines like: “What can you say/When the world turns grey.” And they work a treat, sung in her childlike voice to a backdrop of twinkling electronic arpeggios and hilarious dual guitar lines.

Whistling a happy tune in the face of the black dog of depression, it’s an album of modest ambition, but one that works so well within its limited remit that you can’t help submitting. And with its astronomical imagery and cosmic space-styled musical backdrop, it’s like a candy-coated take on that wonderful Bachelorette album, Isolation Loops


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