The Darkwave Duchess is back with a bit less darkness, but with as much swagger as would befit a duchess (and then some). ABRA’s ’80s obsession has always been somewhat muted, but on “Crybaby” she lets loose with a neon-flecked summer jam that seems straight out of Miami and would make Jan Hammer proud.
The new track is an expansion of the funky ’80s sound ABRA teased with last year’s “Roses.” The production is as clear and gorgeously ordained as anything she’d done before, but the lyrics are simplified to allow breathing room within the track. ABRA’s ability to mix expansive soundscapes with tightly wound dance floor rhythms has always been one of her greatest strengths, a factor immediately evident on the track.
“Crybaby” and the rest of her upcoming EP, Princess, were written and produced in a decidedly rural setting, and the result is a balance between ABRA’s whirlwind schedule and self-imposed isolation. The six-song EP will be her first release since signing to True Panther Sounds and joining the ranks of King Krule and Delorean.
ABRA’s time on Awful Records seemed to bring out a sparse darkness to her music, so it will interesting to see if the change in label brings out the lush production which lurked behind her introversion and always seemed at odds with the rest of the Awful roster. That being said, Awful has always been as much of a collective as a label, so hopefully she will continue to collaborate with them in the future. In any case, “Crybaby” isn’t so much a bold departure as it is a natural outpouring of the same aesthetic she has nurtured since her early YouTube covers. Here, light meets dark, openness meets hostility, and ABRA takes on the world. Listen below.
The Princess EP is out Jul. 15.