Love can do strange things to people: make them change their haircuts, or pretend to enjoy watching Line of Duty. For Kali Uchis, it seems that love is an overwhelming, all-absorbing thing, sticky like gum on the bottom of a shoe and almost certainly not very healthy.
It’s possessive, addictive, making her want to shut out the world and destroy mobile phones to stop them intruding into her world, for her to be the ‘only girl who can make you cry’ or the only reason for a smile.
In astrology, the blood moon – the ‘Red Moon’ of the title – is a chaotic emotional force, something that upends lives, causing disruption and change, making people re-examine their priorities. Uchis draws deep on her own emotional range here, creating a ferociously honest, vulnerable and at points almost frightening account of her desires, an account that doesn’t shy away from the ugly sides of that lovesick dopiness. It’s woozy and hazy, like a head that can’t quite think straight.
Feeling like a classic R&B album heavily indebted to the ‘wet’ sounds of the 90s Jam & Lewis productions with Janet Jackson, it draws on those well-trod touchpoints but pushes them into more experimental territory, driven by an excellent vocal control and an ability to find the sharp edges of emotions. It’s unsettling, like the poppy fields of Oz that trap you in their opiate haze, a beautiful sticky dream that keeps its claws sheathed until you’re too far gone to run.
Red Moon In Venus is out now on Geffen Records