Hollie Smith sure got something out of her system on her second album, Humour and the Misfortune of Others from last year, which scared many with its cathartic songs and tough playing. Musically, it was such a big leap forward from her big-selling local debut, it left many of the buyers of the first one far behind.
This nine-track set with Mara TK (of electrosoul outfit Electric Wire Hustle who possibly inherited his psychedelic adventurousness from Dad and veteran guitar hero Billy TK) is a sideways step but still highly approachable.
Here, her voice isn't shouting up a storm as it did on Humour ... but mostly intertwining itself elegantly into TK's loopy low-slung grooves. They deliver everything from the Prince-flavoured synthfunk duet of The Spirit Racing the Mind to the sci-fi R&B of Transcendence to Promised Land Hotel, a remarkable mix of 1960s baroque pop and noir-ish mood across a cinematic six minutes. Elsewhere Lives for Living is a subdued mix of Smith's soul stylings and TK's way with textured electronica while Ship Her to Another World swings from piano-powered jazz urges into a closing dub rumble.
With two versions of Wait For Me as bookends and a running time of 31 minutes this does feel like an EP. But what Smith and TK's first outing lacks in playing time, it makes up for in sheer playfulness.
Verdict: Soul sister and boffin bro make good