– THE QUIET RIOT –
Sudan Archives (or Brittney Denise Parks as she’s known to her Mum) feels like she’s been around for ages and yet only now are we getting news of her debut LP.
Her combination of North African-style fiddling, R&B harmonies and sparse production saw her earning rave reviews from the likes of NPR’s esteemed All Songs Considered show upon release of her self-titled EP in 2017.
And now, Athena – not the Greek Goddess of wisdom and war but the long-awaited Sudan Archives album – is ready to spring from Parks’ head, full-formed and clothed in glorious, shining armour.
Confessions is the first single from it.
Parks has described her previous EPs (she also released Sink in 2018) as being “like a haiku of what the album is”. Athena, she says, is “more in your face, more confrontational…. I’ve learned how to communicate.”
That boldness is on display straight from the off as the dramatic strings introduce us to a track that is not interested in achieving anything less than transcendence.
And transcend it does. To something extremely captivating. Mostly a beats-n-strings composition that is reminiscent of some of the best moments of Björk’s back catalogue, where it really stands out is where it lets the mask slip a little on the pre-chorus.
It is here that she sings “There is a place that I call home / But it’s not where I am welcome / And if I saw all the angels / Why is my presence so painful?” And there, as the strings melt into dissonant distress, appears the serpent in the middle of Sudan’s lush vertiginous soundscape.
Its appearance is only fleeting and the recovery is all the more rewarding because of it, but it teases what is to come on the rest of the album (as if we needed any more anticipation!)
Athena will be released on 1 November via Stones Throw Records.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –