Label: ATO Records
Released: 4th March 2022
Few artists have made the age-old genre question quite as impossible to answer as West London powerhouse Nilüfer Yanya. Jazz, R&B and indie have all been thrown in the ring at one point or another, but none seem to encapsulate the full scope of her art. On second album ‘PAINLESS’, she continues to defy expectations with her unique blend of alt-rock guitars and hip-hop inflexions.
Though more sonically focussed than 2019 debut album ‘Miss Universe’, the twelve-track record doesn’t shy away from experimentation and boasts an array of eclectic soundscapes wrapped into melancholic harmonies and industrial beats. Effortlessly moving between sensual and defiant, Nilüfer lets her vocals roam freely that quickly become the focal point of the record. The result: A collection of deeply personal snapshots that may well be timeless.
Gone are the days of hiding behind elaborate concept albums. On ‘PAINLESS’, we meet Nilüfer more vulnerable than ever before, laying bare the emotional core of her stunning lyricism. Accompanied by a striking sense of introspection, tracks like ‘shameless’ or ‘belong with me’ create intricate moments of profound revelation – the former a slow-moving reflection on growth (“until you fall it’s painless”), the latter battling the co-dependency of a self-destructive relationship. It’s in these themes of unease and anxiety that the record loses its abstract form and turns into something palpable.
With a hand-around-your-throat kind of urgency, ‘PAINLESS’ feels like the purest form of poetry: raw and inescapable. Try as you might, there is no running from Yanya’s disarming vocals and delicate penmanship. Hard to define but easy to love, Nilüfer Yanya has found a niche that not only works but makes music a little more interesting.