The summer of 2013 witnessed many breakthrough singles, but one of the most noteworthy and unique was created by London’s Tirzah and her production pal Mica ‘Micachu’ Levi – “I’m Not Dancing”. Obtuse, wonky, and downright off-kilter, the track quickly became just as infectious and mood elevating as that sassy press shot of Tirzah, hands on her hips and sporting a serious pair of covetable denim jeans, that accompanied the release. Just under a year later, Tirzah and Mica are back with the No Romance EP which continues their solid play with beats, layered vocals and snap snares.
With no gaps in between tracks, the songs’ overlayed vocals, dissonant beats and off-rhythms weave together in new ways. Minimal opener “Best Thing” features Tirzah’s smooth vocals against a static synth backdrop (with a few churchbells thrown in for good measure), while the pessimistic, quick-witted lyrics of “Malfunction” is full of heavy silence by way of a slinky, R&B downtempo beat.
Title track “No Romance” builds on the repeated two-word phrasing and instrumentation of earlier “I’m Not Dancing” before breaking down each element into slow denumente. Sad, detached, yet strangely warm vocals and excellent minimal production demonstrate just how much can be achieved with very, very little. Heavily layered vocals give each song a sultry affair, courtesy of Levi’s excellent intuitive production skills. Her intuitive ability to fuse versitle beats with heavily layered vocals on the industrial “Style” and”‘You” will have you listening to these tracks on repeat to figure out what exactly those snare snaps and electro pulses just going on in the background are about.
Minimal, repeated lyrics and found in the kitchen-sink type beats run throughout the record, giving it that unique sensibility that only composers with equally unique names could produce. At the perfect five track length, No Romance is a solid release from someone who could be the year’s most exciting artist. Romance found.