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Ehiorobo’s twist on R&B is sweetly disarming on his electric new album Joltjacket. Using sounds from countless musical influences, from dissonant noise punk to honeyed soul and pop, each track offers an exuberant reflection on the emotional and sensory overloads experienced in life.
On “Shit’s Creek,” one of the album’s many unexpected collages, Ehiorobo sings with Broadway flair over pulsing, flute-like synths. Halfway through, the song turns urgent and frenzied; its tempo blasts forward, his singing turns into a shout, and glitches of speeding drums appear, slowly coalescing into a euphoric final crescendo.
The New Jersey-raised artist’s voice soars and quavers on “Fun & Torture (feat. Isa Reyes)” over gently strummed electric guitar chords and modulated vocal samples reverbing in and out. Meanwhile, on the industrial hyperpop track “Mirror Tooolz,” he sings the line “Do you know the mirror dance?” with an easy melody that is then swallowed in a cacophonous composition of blistering beats, keys, growls, and screams.
Altogether, Joltjacket has all the fun of a video game character in a furious but fleeting state of invincibility. Its disorienting quality is all part of its power.