Kirsten Collins’ “Floura” EP
Smart songwriting is taking on many forms in 2023, and you needn’t look much further than Kirsten Collins’ Floura EP to understand exactly what I mean. Where just a few years ago, indie pop was seemingly headed towards a more mainstream creative trajectory, especially with regards to scenes like the one in L.A., where the Canadian Collins is based, Floura presents listeners with an alternative look at the genre’s progressive evolution that has little to do with commercial standards and almost everything to do with pop ethos.
In the three songs found on this record, Collins plays against the rulebook, finding a place to marry tension with broadminded melodic color in “Thinking Bout You,” worldly synth harmonies and sensuous, progressive R&B beats in “Shadows,” and blunt alternative pop aesthetics with a surreal groove in “Dangerous Love,” all the while sounding as methodical as an orchestra’s conductor would. If conventionality is something that you demand when picking up exciting new music, I recommend steering clear of Floura because, in all honesty, it happens to be one of the more forward-thinking extended plays of its kind to debut on either end of the cultural lexicon in the year so far.
“Dangerous Love” and “Shadows” are all about artistic contrast, weaving together conflicting elements as if they were always meant to be joined in some divinely sonic partnership, and though “Thinking Bout You” is a lot more stable in its distribution of melodies, I think it was important to include all three of these songs on Floura in a bid to highlight Kirsten Collins’ incredible versatility as a composer. I get the impression that “Thinking Bout You” and “Dangerous Love” were crafted almost exclusively for the studio in which they were recorded, but at the same time, I still think they could make for some interesting live fodder if this singer were interested in performing them in person at some point soon. The understated nature of the beats in this record could translate well in a small venue, and if provided the right kind of setup, I don’t see why all of the tracks here couldn’t be reshaped to intoxicate an entire concert hall full of eager pop fans.
Try as you might, I don’t believe you’re going to find another record quite like the one that Kirsten Collins has just issued in Floura, and not because of its unique hybridity of styles alone. There’s still plenty of room for her to continue growing into her sound as she has in the eight years that’s passed since the release of her debut single “Locked Away,” but in my opinion, the creative moxie she’s showing off in this EP is currently unmatched in the American pop underground, and it’s brought to us in full-color, high definition audio here. She’s still got a ways to go before she can topple the hierarchy of pop singers in the world with her catalog, but as of now, she’s one of the more important artists in her genre to watch.
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