“In the garden of your own mind, it’s dark and prickly, sweet and sticky”
The Singaporean Glitch Princess is back and bleaker than ever. Natasha Yelin Chang (or preferred Nat Cmiel), better known as yeule, just released the follow-up to last year’s Glitch Princess aptly titled softscars. As a first time listener, I hadn’t known of this artist until this review and never expected what I’d hear in the process. With that out of the way, let’s proceed with the review.
The album opens with x w x, which calls to mind women-fronted bands of the 90’s and 00’s like Hole and Made Of Babies with their whisper-to-a-scream balance of aggression and candy-coated vocals. Adding a mix of shoegaze undertones makes this track relevant with the sonic resurgence from other related artists of the current decade. The only standout factor is the string break mid-song, establishing yeule’s still-experimental nature.
Next up is sulky baby, another 90’s inspired alternative rock ear-candy. It is a steady track and a breather from the previous song’s aural assault. There are no surprises here aside from the soft electronic feedback. The shoegaze and electronic elements continue on the title track softscars. Surprisingly, the guitar is absent here and is a balanced offering of pop and glitch.
4ui12 then weaves into a carefree dream pop glitchy experience that ends on an insert coin sample. The next track, ghosts, is a mostly-acoustic affair which then slowly builds up toward guitar noise and ends back on the acoustic guitar. Track 6, dazies, starts with feedback then falls into shoegaze bliss (get me a word counter, stat) and then the acoustic guitar on the first verse. yeule weaves in and out alternating between their regular voice and a robotic version. Past the halfway mark, the tempo morphs to a slow double-time until the track ends with yeule’s interpolated human and robot voice with an acoustic guitar. This song was the standout, for me.
The next track, fish in the pool, is a piano interlude which apparently came from a soundtrack for a movie titled The Case of Hana & Alice (cite genius.com for this information). software update is a sleepy pop ballad and the most digestible track for a first time yeule listener, which then seamlessly connects to the next track inferno, a dance track that tethers to both lo-fi leanings and a semi-polished production.
bloodbunny continues on the electronic glitch and softness while cyber meat is pop-rock goodness that can be translated best live among the tracks in the album. The closer, apex twin flame, is the barest and vulnerable yeule has been vocal-wise in a while since their start back in 2014.
All in all, this album is a much easier listen compared to Glitch Princess, which bordered on extreme pop experimentation – hence the former’s accolades. However, softscars shows a side of yeule that may be slowly shedding their self-made virtual world persona to show the real them as you journey along with them throughout the album. And this may not be a bad thing.
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