- The South African producer turns to mainstream pop with mixed results.
- Angel-Ho is a critic of gender roles and sexual norms. In 2017, the South African producer's telling debut, Red Devil, articulated the risky nature of presenting as queer and trans in public, and with last year's LP, Death Becomes Her, she uncovered the faulty constructs of femininity. Angel-Ho posited herself as a pop icon in recent works, and her second album, Woman Call, dives into the same elements of grandeur seen in her previous work.
This is pure pop, with all the rough edges sanded and polished off. From the jump, "Fame" embodies the anything-goes spirit of the '80s. It's a flashy opener saluting Andrew Warhol, Prince ("The consequence of popular sense / The way the doves may cry") and is brought home with deep vocals that evoke a young Grace Jones. The track also reworks lyrics from Red Devil's "Muse To You," a piece originally written about feminine performance. Visions of an explosive love affair are dished out on "Spell on You," a lustrous cut of nu-disco, carrying sultry saxophone riffs and electric guitar.
"Kisses Taste Like Honey" carries an infectious bassline that sounds like a punchy Eurodance groove from the '90s. Angel-Ho crowns herself the queen of hearts on the banger of the album, "Let It Go," a pulse-raiser driven by exuberant Afrobeats. Harkening back to old-school '90s hip-hop, "Rewind" is the single outlier of the upbeat album, centering Angel-Ho's stark rapping about the struggle to be respected as an artist. The anthemic title track, "Woman Call," is a cinematic pop-turned-rallying cry for women pushed to the fringes of society.
Following releases that zoomed in on her abstract sound, Woman Call marks the first time Angel-Ho's singing is the primary focus on a release. While the project is compelling and bursting with potential, some parts are rendered harsh due to her flat singing. The shining vocal moments in Woman Call often arrive with Angel-Ho's quick-lipped rap and spoken-word. In spite of this slight drawback, Angel-Ho manages to captivate with stylish lyricism, a fresh vintage pop direction and further futurisms on the subject of gender.
02. Spell On You
03. Woman Call
05. Kisses Taste Like Honey
07. Let It Go
08. Tough Love