“Cracks in the pavement, scorpions, abandoned retail emporiums / Amazon Prime, the new world power.” It's clear from the opening few bars of Au/Ra's debut single "Concrete Jungle", there's a fiery social conscience at the heart of her sparkling, surrealist pop songwriting.
The otherworldly shimmer to Au/Ra's seamlessly executed first offering comes courtesy of her upbringing on two contrasting islands: she was born amid the hustle and bustle of European party capital Ibiza but raised in the decidedly more easy going Caribbean, on Antigua. ""Concrete Jungle" is about the city life and how exciting, difficult and different it is, compared to where I grew up - it's hard and thrilling too," she explains to me over email. Sure enough, the divine choruses ooze with confetti bursts of synth bass and Au/Ra's sugar-coated vocals, pitch-shifted and gorgeously skewiff, while the verses are more subtle and sparse, roomy enough for her to strike out against modern life and all its decaying conveniences. It's a motif she knows inside out: two cultures which traditionally rub and grate, coming together in perfect pop harmony.
Au/Ra sums up, "The song is also about starting out in music and how challenging it is. Saying that, I'd love every listener to find their own meaning in the song." She's certainly up to the task, having just laid some of the strongest foundations of any emerging pop star in 2016.