- Intimate electronic pop from Tirzah Mastin and Mica Levi.
- Since 2013's I'm Not Dancing, a lo-fi pop EP full of brief and chaotic tracks with addictive hooks, Tirzah Mastin has found a uniquely minimalist, post-grime, pop-infused sound, especially when working together with her frequent collaborator Mica Levi. Though Mastin is the focal point, she admits her relationship with Levi is crucial to the music they make. This dynamic is easily heard through in their work. Levi's microtonal productions blaze around Tirzah's gentle but anchoring voice. Sometimes Levi smelts the vocals into the compositions like a malleable metal. Other times she pushes them into the lead. As Tirzah's debut LP, Devotion continues their sketchbook style of song building, presenting mercurial ideas with repetitive riffs and catchy hooks. The LP is what their 2014 track "Malfunction" hinted at: patient, tender and slow, with Tirzah's voice the guiding force.
Devotion is a collection of intimately quiet love songs, merged together like a montage of styles from soul to R&B and indie-pop. Tirzah's lyrics are the kind of introspective thoughts one might scribble down in a diary or share with a loved one. "I know we are made from / love and fantasy / I know we will be here for eternity," she sings over the shimmering final track, "Reach." Levi's off-kilter production has mellowed and matured. On spacier compositions such as "Affection," a single chord lets Tirzah's vocals meander carelessly. The watery keys of "Gladly" ripple under Tirzah's smokey croons and slouched-back R&B, gradually shifting towards the psychedelic.
There is a distinct lack of coherence in the album's aesthetic fluidity, but it's more exciting than it is jarring. "Basic Need" feels like a muted gospel song, while "Go Now" could be a stripped-back Destiny's Child track. Tirzah's R&B-tinged vocals trickle down Levi's warbling synths like water. "Guilty" is the unexpected curveball, with Auto-Tuned vocals and distorted power chords opening the track. The staccato piano scales and barebones percussion of the title track wander beneath Tirzah's sultry-sweet phrasing. It's striking how simple and affecting Devotion is as a whole. At a time when so much music is political and intellectualized, Tirzah's sincerity and candor is a breath of fresh air.
01. Fine Again
02. Do You Know
04. Holding On
06. Basic Need
08. Devotion feat. Coby Sey
09. Go Now
10. Say When