Israeli-born Nili Hadida has made a name for herself as part of Parisian electro-pop-folk duo Lilly Wood and The Prick, alongside guitarist Benjamin Cotto.
Two of their three albums have gone gold in France, and they were brought to the attention of the rest of Europe when their track "Prayer in C" was remixed by German DJ Robin Schulz, topping charts across the continent. After thirteen years Hadida’s now striking out on her own path with her first solo release, and she’s teamed up with some high-calibre studio heads for the project, in producer Christian Rich – he’s helmed projects for the likes of N.E.R.D. and Lil Kim – and Jimmy Douglass handling mixing duties, who’s worked with Bjork, Kanye and Justin Timberlake. It makes for quite the mouth-watering prospect, partnering that know-how and experience with Hadida’s classy, beguiling, chanteuse-like vocals.
What results is a sound that’s far less rooted in the electro-pop-folk that Lilly Wood and The Prick have dabbled in over the years, and instead, takes on various guises throughout the album. For the most part, it’s soft, and minimal, offering an abundance of space for Hadida’s heavy-hearted confessions to unreel. And there’s a duskiness that hangs over it all too. “I’ll never laugh like I used to” she says in the menacing "Dorian". The hazy trip-hop of “A Lot Too Much” can’t mask the fact that “it’s been a hard couple of years”. But there’s brighter moments as well, like in the piano-stab soul of It’s Me, and the gospel choir-backed, string-laden “Covered In Luck”. The ode to Frank Ocean’s “Pink Matter”, “Frank”, is just Hadida singing over a warm organ, and it makes for quite the centrepiece.
This is a solo debut that’s been made with love, care, and plenty of ability, and although it has a tendency to veer too far into bleaker territory at times, there’s no denying its subtle magnetism. Nili Hadida’s found herself a new groove, and it makes a quiet yet engaging impression.