REVIEW: Sky Ferreira – As If EP

Sky Ferreira 11

Artist: Sky Ferreira
Album: As If EP
Genre: Pop

The sudden influx of teenage overachievers is starting to make me feel self-conscious. Or at least, I’m finding it bizarre that so many youths are finding it this easy to crack out a few heavily produced songs and found a career upon it. Before you say anything, I know this is nothing new, but perchance this reflection is a sign as to how relatively unperturbed this EP left me. It’s a fairly bright and decently engaging release, though the disparities in style with each track leaves me wondering whether they’re merely testing the water to see what genre to market Ms. Ferreira’s future full lengths in.

“Sex Rules,” a recent single, is an oddly stilted song. It’s heavily programmed, signaling the key trend throughout this EP, with lots of effects offset with synthesizers and erratic percussive experiments. It has some colour and Ferreira’s singing is relatively accomplished, but I’m not quite sure whether it’s catchy enough. It lacks pace and seems to dwell too much on the peculiarities of its sound. It’s intriguing, but not emphatic enough to evoke a clear opinion.

“Traces” is much better. It’s simpler and clearer, opening with a piano and tender vocals and creating an eerie, haunted atmosphere. The chorus introduces more effects and sampling, but these work better here than on the previous track – the inconsistencies fit the faintly melancholic and troubled air of the song. The piano makes for a beautiful grounding, and the vocals are a striking complement. Disappointing descent into repetition near the end aside, this is a well-judged and finely executed song which indicates some promise.

“Haters Anonymous” goes for a trancelike vibe – it’s quite rhythmic and has a thumping, distinctive attitude. The instrumentation is kept minimal during the verses, with some loose and artificial backing for the vocals until the chorus introduces a lighter and airier feel. The contrast between verse and chorus makes it seem like two very different songs, as the latter infuses it with a more engrossing appeal while the verse is pure club and a little too duplicate in sound. 99 Tears is a poppier effort, laced with some dance-worthy programming. It’s very mainstream and everyday by comparison with the others, though this can work in its favour. The chorus is quite vivacious and Ferreira sings very intently. The clamour of effects in the background is a little distracting and possibly too obvious a disguise for what is essentially quite a bare and blasé song, but overall it’s decent enough.

“108” is another slow number, slightly detached and set to almost fatigued singing. It appears to aim for a more indie sound – more particularly, it seemingly seeks to emulate Marina and the Diamonds’ charming blend of heart and kookiness, though it’s not anywhere near on the same level. It has enough of an individual kink to stand on its own, as do all the songs on the EP, but it’s a little too vague for my liking. The final slew of repetition is jarring and the overall impression is of a good idea undernourished.

In summary, As If is a relatively noble effort, though one too heavily reliant on the mixing desk. It has some good ideas and does a few interesting things with them – “Traces” is a gorgeous number – but it has a certain inertia that undermines its clarity as a standalone release. As written above, it seems more like an experiment as to which style of music best suits Ferreira’s talents, which is all well and good but doesn’t do much to promote sincerity or charm. It’s passable dance music, but one standout track aside it won’t leave a particularly profound impression.

SCORE: 6/10
Review written by: Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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