Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHype can be a dangerous commodity, as several artists over the years have discovered. While it can give emerging musicians a leg-up in an ever-competitive industry, it can equally raise expectations to unrealistic levels, often making records an inevitable disappointment. Which brings us to Sky Ferreira. Initially surfacing in 2010, her debut album was originally scheduled for release in January 2011 before delays, botched recording sessions and record label wranglings meant she's only put out two EPs to date: 2011's As If! and 2012's Ghost. Although this series of events could have, and very often has happened to so many other artists, not many others can say they have also financed recording sessions through a modelling career and supported a controversial pop superstar on a North America tour, all without actually releasing an album in the UK. But finally, Night Time, My Time has arrived here on an almighty wave of hype.

It's not the album you might expect from someone who's just opened for Miley Cyrus on her Bangerz tour. A slightly bewildering fusion of modern pop, 90s grunge and 80s synths, it's a genuinely interesting record that evidently takes on board a wide range of influences. At times it feels as if the frustration over all of the delays and hold-ups are not bubbling under, but rather breaking through the surface - just like a wrecking ball, as a lesser reviewer might have quipped here. The furious and frenetic aesthetic of Night Time, My Time can be disconcerting but also exhilarating.

Lyrically it is as direct a record as it is musically, not so much promoting confrontation but becoming its head of PR. "Try to teach me a lesson, I'll keep you keep you guessin", she yelps in "I Will", a three-minute collision of distorted guitars, soaring synth and high-pitched vocals. Lead single "You're Not the One" is perfect evidence of Sky's command of a great pop song, something which is sometimes lost in a mass of noise and frustration. Here, however, she strikes the perfect balance between the two. But these high points are soured by moments such as the unrelenting fuzz and feedback of "Omanko" and "Kristine", which do little for the flow of the album and merely make it a more challenging listen that it needs to be.

Sky Ferreira has certainly evolved from her earlier pop and dance-rooted work, but in a peculiar twist of fate it's these roots which ultimately bring her closer to the genre that she's trying to distance herself from. Like so many pop albums, it's hard to doubt the quality of the individual tracks. But as a collection, it angrily stumbles and drunkenly falters its way to the sombre closing title – a fitting finish to an album that requires a little too much energy to truly enjoy. An enjoyable listen, but this ultimately feels like a missed opportunity.

Release: 17th March 2014, Polydor


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