After a 13-year absence, electronic-music pioneer Richard D. James (who’s inspired the likes of Radiohead and Daft Punk) is back to show the kids how it’s done. Listening to Syro is like getting lost in a black-lit fun house operated by possibly diabolical cyborg carnies. Well worth the wait.
Shimmering, Sade-slick torch songs from the British pop singer who, in a just world, would be even bigger than Sam Smith. More accessible than her glitchy-cool (but still great) debut, Devotion, Tough Love finds collaborators like Miguel, Ed Sheeran, and Dev Hynes pushing her sound in satisfying new directions.
This is what it would sound like if Joan of Arc’s last request was not to give a speech but to cover a Sonic Youth song. A blistering half-hour of squalling noise and hard-won, almost-drowned-out koans about sex, love, and the audacity of staying alive.