In inky pools of darkness, the debut tune from Flo Taylor germinates in all it’s trip-hop glory, enticing listeners into its unplumbed depths.
Black effusions generally have a bad wrap – whether the black space putty Under The Skin’s Scarlett Johansson used to trap Glaswegian men in her alien death sauna (spoilers) or the black goop that gave Noomi Rapace a squid baby in Prometheus (spoilers) or, the horror, that Doobie Brothers song (which we low-key love and just want to look hip) – black goo usually isn’t good news.
Thankfully ‘Black Water’ is none of those things: just jet black synth-pop shot through with noirish soul and shrouded in the oeuvre of Portishead.
This song sounds absolutely amazing. Flo’s voice is the focus, swooping and loping round the groove with ease. There’s a bit of bite to the performance. She’s leaning into her accent in a way that echoes the pith of Florence Welch.
However her rejection of chamber tropes is refreshing, especially to the ears of someone who loves John Carpenter as much as I do (peep the Halloween-esque stomp and lawn-sprinkler percussion in the bridge). Where many singers with this sort of potency would be happy to rest on their laurels and rely on vocal power to see them through, ‘Black Water’ is truly expansive.
Synthesisers bristle from every surface, and are used not just for melody but texture too. The range of sounds is impressive, by turn silvery and burnished, cracked and shimmering. Whether throbbing with sinister insistence or strobing over the tumultuous outro, the use of synth pad is masterful. Bass is heard sparingly, underlining the verses, the beat is Sneaker Pimps sneer.
‘Black Water’ is an absolutely blinding debut single. Kohl-eyed goth pop perfection.
Follow Flo Taylor here.