Reviews

Liv.e “Girl in the Half Pearl” Album Review

Girl In The Half Pearl

Liv.e

  • Genre: R&B/Soul
  • Date: 10 Feb, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Region: USA
  • Track(s): 17
  • ℗ 2023 In Real Life Music under exclusive license to AWAL Recordings America, Inc.

“Girl In The Half Pearl,” Liv.e’s second album, is the sound of reinvention locked in a loop. It’s obvious the Los Angeles-based artist and producer has no interest in establishing cohesiveness at this point in her career as she spins an abstract web of lo-fi hip-hop, spectral soul, ambient noise, and retro-futuristic breakbeat. Only Liv.e herself is intended for the album’s 41 minute, 17 track duration.

Additionally, the new album doesn’t organize her emotions and impulses into simple, palatable bits. They are unregulated and alter the sounds themselves to fit their hysterical nature. Extremes are expertly balanced; sensuous jazz flourishes marvellously cohabit with hissed industrial sounds. “Girl In The Half Pearl” is a project that is easily categorized as a diary. However, the way she combines dissonance and melody feels more in tune with the physicality of nightlife, the frantic clamor of loud music, and the commotion on the streets. The songs serve as sharp windows into Liv.e’s frantic mental status.

Album Cover Art

Liv.e &Quot;Girl In The Half Pearl&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, March 3, 2024

For the warm album cover of her second studio offering, Liv.e takes the posture of someone going through the motions and the gloomy ambience of the whole shot gives more structure to the mood. The singer appears nude, curled up and from her disposition, trapped in thoughts.

Tracks and Features

On the album’s opening track, “Gardetto,” she wails, “When I looked inside my brain, there were all these webs of pain,” sang over a wave of pitch-shifted ‘oh nos.’ Healing is a maze of skepticism and bewilderment that can only be navigated by necessity. Liv.e does not waste time conceptualizing the process. She exerts herself like a whiny child and burns out before the work even starts.

She summons the courage to deal with relationships once more on the psychedelic, soulful swirl of “Heart Break Escape,” one of the album’s more developed songs. The gospel hymn “If It Had Not Been for the Lord on My Side,” which explicitly tackles the breaking of destructive cycles, is poignantly sampled by Liv.e in “Our Father,” which reflects her God-fearing childhood.

John Carroll Kirby, a West Coast new age keyboardist, and Solomonophonic, a frequent collaborator with Remi Wolf, pull out all the brakes for the cheery “Wild Animals,” in dripping piano and the timeless warmth of a brushed drum back-beat. Mndsgn contributes a particularly creative touch to “Find Out.” Liv.e’s decision to forgo the love rollercoaster in favor of “precious time alone” receives the ideal amount of last-kiss sweetness thanks to the jazzy, snare-free loop he unearths from the depths of the music crates. The song ends while a trilling synthesizer plays in the background, and Liv.e’s parting words, which express her gut-wrenching resolve, pierce like a knife.

She roars in rage as she bitterly admits her need for security—and remembers how it was previously denied to her—and crashes into the breakbeats of “Ghost” with a metallic screech. Liv.e draws you into the tension-filled second just before an emotional wall between two individuals breaks on “Clowns.” At the breaking moment, sinisterly beautiful strings and teaser percussion explode into bloody pyrotechnics. Liv.e achieves an inescapably compelling anti-charm by burying the emotional apologies of “Snowing!” behind a layer of static, utilizing a new vocal style and post-production method for each vocal line of “Six Weeks,” and refusing to reduce the hard battle of finding yourself into a catchy chorus.

Tracklist

NO

TITLE

TIME

1 Gardetto. 2:55
2 A Slumber Party‽ 1:53
3 Lake Psilocybin 3:00
4 Six Weeks 1:19
5 Ghost 2:36
6 Find Out 2:28
7 Clowns 2:36
8 Heart Break Escape 2:20
9 HowTheyLikeMe! 1:44
10 Snowing! 3:31
11 Wild Animals 3:35
12 RESET! 2:24
13 Underground 2:04
14 Back Alley 0:53
15 Our Father 2:44
16 NoNewNews!!! 1:58
17 Glass Shadows 2:36

Album Theme

Liv.e creates a mirror on her latest album, surgically scrutinizing the most repulsive aspects of her psyche and reaching out to her worst impulses and frightful thoughts. By meeting herself in the present and retaining her own gaze, she sets an example for others to follow.

Production Credits

The project features production from John Carroll Kirby, Aaron Liao, Mndsgn, and Solomonphonic.

Stream

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