From ‘the Kick’ EP, released back in 2008, Femmepop has gone about steadily building a platform for her debut long player release ‘A Girl Who Never Sleeps’. And take the title as fact, as a statement. There has been no sleep between the beginning of her career and now.
Femmepop has honed her vocal skills, along with getting to grips with various instruments. On this album the artist doesn’t just craft the structure of each record but then puts all the pieces together.
A guitar here, a piano there. Femmepop is a band of four rolled into one. Her lyrics sit so comfortably that at times you really do wonder if this artist is actually human, and not part machine.
I have checked, and yes Femmepop is indeed one of us.
There has also been a lot of work behind the scenes (of this release). Notibly, Gavin Monaghan who has worked along side such artists as Babes in Toyland and Robert Plant, amassing gold and platinum credits to his name. If you think big then you go for the best, and this is a massive step in that direction.
‘A Girl Who Never Sleeps’ has already been sounded-out by BBC Radio in the UK and has reached a worldwide audience, having only been released in September.
The opening tack gives you a big hint as to why. ‘1983’ is a refreshing record, it sounds different. Indie blended with synth wave, should it work? In simple terms, no. But does it? Yes. The vocals/lyrics create a form of escapism and the production is effortless. This track gives the album a great base to start from. It’s also very catchy.
Femmepop has also noted that when outside help is needed, she isn’t afraid to call for backup. And with ‘Timescapes’ our first heavy-hitter makes their entrance, in the form of Timecop1983. The tempo is instantly lifted and a synthesiser is blissfully melted into your ears. Femmepop’s voice is as soft as silk and the lyrics are meaningful. The track is gorgeous and evokes 80’s memories and culture.
‘Neon Nights’ lifts the pace, further, and includes another big name in the synth-world. SelloRekT /LADreams has a way of coalescing tracks together with aplomb, and has a great reputation for his productions. So far, having another big artist helping to pull the strings has definitely been the right choice. It’s as edgy as Miami after midnight and gives Femmepop another plain to showcase her lyrics.
‘Yellow Lines’ shows a more mainstream side to the artist. All instruments except the drums (Will Jones – composed by Gareth Williams) are contributed by Femmepop, of which deserves a lot of credit. There must have been a lot of time and effort put into creating the overall sound, and it’s hard not to find this inspirational. Again, the vocal deliver.
After a diversion of sound, we are back within the confines of keyboards. This is very dreamy. Melodic synths float alongside a rhythmic drum machine and the vocals comfort you in your journey through the ‘Astrogate’. The sounds are sublime. You will find yourself captivated by what the artist has created. A definite highlight from the album.
‘Not That Kind’ introduces us the familiar sounds of Robert Parker, who treats us to something quite cinematic. His production has a timeless feel and Femmepop has achieved another applaudable collaboration. This record needed a production to match the lyrics, as the artist is conveying her status in life and in the industry. It is a message and both collaborators have delivered it, with finesse.
We again unplug, this time Femmepop gives us a personal feel for her live set. The artist wanted to give us a glimpse of the present and the future with her LP. While enjoying the live aspect of picking up a guitar and performing on stage she has also enjoyed tinkering with synthesisers in her studio. Femmepop has wanted to take a new direction, but has also not wanted to alienate her existing fan-base. Tracks like ‘Don’t Fear’ have not been kept to one side. And it is nice to ‘down-tools’ and just simply enjoy this close-to-live performance.
If you close your eyes and listen to the next track, ‘Beautiful Boy’, you could be mistaken for tuning into an American radio station. This will really appeal to many people over the pond, again another audience. Not many genres are missed out on Femmepop’s debut, but then again I don’t think Death Metal would have fit in. I could be wrong and I certainly wouldn’t put it past the artist later down the line.
‘Our Time’ is the last of the electronic numbers on show. Timecop1983 is again the drive behind productional duties, and again impressing. Femmepop delivers her lyrics in a smouldering tone. She is deliberately affectionate and, at the same time, reassuring. And this fits the tone of the track perfectly, as it is about promising love but also not rushing it. Creating an overall personal feel.
Robert Parker is back in the fold for ‘Where Are You?’, but not in a way you’d expect. This time on bass, for a very studio-feel track. This is a very interesting record, as it begins as an indie number but slowly introduces synthesisers that give it an almost New Order/The Killers feel. The overall energetic vibe of the record will keep the listener engaged.
The title track, ‘From A Girl Who Never Sleeps’, is a poignant way to end an eclectic collection of records. A record that is sang from the heart. Femmepop has poured everything into creating all eleven tracks on show, so to finish with something so ‘triumphant’ is fitting. You can only admire her passion and guile.
Overall, this LP could be conceived as a soundtrack to everyday life. It’s about heartbreak, family, new love, belonging and progression.
Current listeners of the artist will be bowled over by the variations in sound, and new listeners will be drawn in the same way.
Femmepop is going to be with is for some time; inspiring other female artists as well, as artists in general, to try genres that would necessarily be intimidating. Artists like Femmepop can only bring down barriers and create a dystopia for like-minded creative types.
One could say she is the Creme de la Femme.