Openhearted and fearless. Melanie Valera’s earlier work as Tender Forever was a study in contrasts — an icy power worthy of Siouxsie or (especially) Nico mixed with tinny, rough’n’ready homemade electronics. The music was constantly reaching for something — connection, I’d guess — unafraid to keep sharing and revealing, when everyone else would shut down and withdraw inward. Things have changed. No Snare is a very different Tender Forever. The sound is just bigger; the synths and beats are more lush and exotic, the hooks are bigger (and just this shy of radio-worthy), the vocals are warmer and more confident. Valera’s clearly been listening to a lot of avant beatmakers with a populist edge (MIA, Dan Deacon) and it shows in the seamless combinations of serpentine arrangements and instinctive, club-ready choruses. Her vocals are strong and clear like a bell, loud and confident. Sometimes it feels too easy and too poppy, but is it easier to write a pop song or not to write a pop song? Is it better to dance and communicate and be heard, or to speak your own inner tongue? No Snare is similar to Karin Dreijer Andersson’s work as Fever Ray, letting a little light shine in. Insurgent pop.
K Records: www.kpunk.com