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Empress Of - I'm Your Empress Of (Album Review)

Wednesday, 08 April 2020 Written by Alex Myles

Photo: Dorian Lopez

Empress Of’s third album is a typically introspective and overtly sexual journey into electro-pop, standing ready for any sweaty indie disco dancefloor. Here Los Angeles musician Lorely Rodriguez draws on emotion and her environment, foregrounding her mother as an important influence in her development both as a woman and a songwriter.

A handful of tracks on ‘I’m Your Empress Of’ contain spoken word passages from her mother, who recites empowering feminist messages: “Make yourself the woman that nobody is going to mistreat” and “You make yourself the woman you want to be.”

Rodriguez’s Honduran-American heritage also manifests itself in the production, and there are welcome Latin-inspired beats throughout. The album is expressively percussive, with its finest song, Void, and Give Me Another Chance being perfect examples. 

The synth patterns and timbres are also expertly chosen and crafted, and tours with Blood Orange and Mura Masa have clearly rubbed off on Rodriguez.

Although there is a lack of structural variation—all tracks follow a certain dance music formula and fall in the two to three minute mark—‘I’m Your Empress Of’ acts as a comprehensive portfolio of Rodriguez’s talents as a producer, with BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso) providing a guiding hand in a exec role.

Rodriguez wrote the album confined in an L.A. studio, and the results reflect this sense of isolation. This is an honest, insular, self-empowering, and self-analysing album about sex and relationships (see Should’ve, Not The One and Hold Me Like Water). There’s an inherent focus on melody, while Rodriguez’s voice has never sounded so free and brilliantly layered. 

‘I’m Your Empress Of’ does what it says on the tin, solidifying Rodriguez as one of the most exciting artists writing and producing in her field. It’s an album that sits alongside Georgia’s ‘Seeking Thrills’ and Caribou’s ‘Suddenly’ as one of the year’s best dance projects thus far.

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