"I wanna destroy you with sound" declares Auckland pop dynamo Zowie on the title track of her debut album Love Demolition, the bass synth pulsating as the electronic drum sounds reverberate between catchy melodies and sassy attitude.
It's a strong opener with a club anthem quality, while You Treat Me follows with a more J-Pop vibe combined with some strong Gary Numan influences.
New single My Calculator has an atmospheric, space invaders vibe. She recites the number "1, 6, 2, 3" during the chorus, and though 1623 was apparently the year the calculator was invented, I'm not sure what that has to do with a cheating boyfriend.
Nothing Else is a dark and cheeky track with some percussive heavy breathing/rapping interludes that owe something to Missy Elliott's Work It, and King of One Thing is a highlight, the most swinging, rock 'n' roll track on the album, like the B-52s beamed through a computer game. On more song-based Anodyne, which was co-written with Hannah Robertson who worked with Ladyhawke on her first album, Zowie gets to show off her vocal abilities a little more, and neatly pulls off a kind of Blondie melodic pop sound.
It might also be the first song which has ever used the line "your love is anodyne" (which means to relieves pain or stress). Some tracks aren't as strong, Nasty Fun has elements that sound overly contrived and cliched, while Smash It has a slightly annoying Ke$ha-like tone.
And the inclusion of three older tracks at the end of the album is interesting, as they're a little more childlike, and it seems Zowie has come quite a way since their release. Love or Hate, though, has a real rocking element which would be impressive live.
But overall it's an accomplished pop album. The way she uses her voice rhythmically and percussively is great fun, yelping and whipping, moaning and crackling her consonants. And combined with some "hyper-production" from an array of impressive international collaborators, it's a debut that will be lapped up by dancefloor enthusiasts.
Verdict: Futuristic, percussive synth pop debut from the artist formerly known as Bionic Pixie.
-TimeOutBy Lydia Jenkin Email Lydia