- London singer Tirzah's debut EP was up for a scrap. "I'm not dancing, I'm fighting" went the title track's refrain and, powered by Micachu's idiosyncratic beats and some surprisingly effective hooks, this was lo-fi pop with a healthy note of disdain. The pair have described the EP's follow-up, No Romance, as a more "emo" effort. But while it's most definitely a breakup record, it's still got some fight. Closer "You" reads as a provocation—"Why don't you leave me now?" sings Tirzah—even if the seasick chords in the closing minute hint at something softer. The title track, meanwhile, is a gently melancholy piece of electro-pop, but Tirzah doesn't wallow in her sorrow so much as angrily disavow it: "no cheating / no coldness / no bust-ups / no romance." And by "Style" she's over the whole thing and making demands: "I need a man... you've got to be tough / you've got to have style."
The latter track is the only place where Micachu's production feels a tad ill-judged—those yammering synths are abrasive without conveying much energy. But elsewhere it's often the chief attraction. "Best Thing," with its buzzing pads, could sound panoramic, but Tirza's sultry soul voice is pushed so high in the mix that it sounds like bathroom karaoke. It’s a surprising kind of self-sabotage that carries an emotional weight of its own. Micachu knows when to hold back, too: the Rhodes-and-beatbox balladry of "Malfunction" makes it the straightest thing here—all the better to frame a wonderfully offhand performance from Tirzah. It's just a shame the thing's so short.
01. No Romance
02. Best Thing