Kali Uchis is the name on everyone’s lips. The Columbian-American starlet has worked with everyone, from Tyler, The Creator to Damon Albarn on her debut album Isolation. Gliding with ease across genres, the star on the rise proves her worth with a strong collection of hip-hop, pop, and funk-infused tunes.
Opening the album is Thundercat-produced ‘Body Language’. The mystic chiming clears to reveal Uchi’s sultry voice, with an old-school jazz feel to it. Following that, ‘Miami’, demonstrates her ability to tap into the more commercial side of music at the moment. As high hat drums roll in the background, there’s Lana Del-Rey feel to the vocals before BIA jumps in giving it an urban edge.
‘Just a Stranger’ is a standout track, the collaboration with Steve Lacy of The Internet is funk-infused with modern-day grooves. The end result is something instantly catchy and undeniably fun. ‘Your Teeth in My Neck’’ is also characterised by this, with an infectious beat to it. Then there’s ‘Dead to Me’ which is just a fantastic anthem for brushing off the haters.
Isolation is made up of collaborations with varying results. With the amount of other artists working with her on the album, it feels like a patchwork of sounds all put together to form one final collection. Uchis needs to be careful not to lose her own sound in the midst of it all. Her collaboration with Kevin Parker on ‘Tomorrow’ has classic Tame Impala riffs as her vocals stand strong. However, ‘In My Dreams’ featuring Damon Albarn, sounds like a B-side from Humanz.
Working with close friend Tyler, the Creator and funk legend Bootsy Collins, ‘After the Storm’ is the track that makes the most impact. The soulful lyricism blends perfectly with a funky bassline and Tyler’s much-welcomed appearance.
Bringing the album to a close is the poignant ‘Killer’ which was written in the back of an SUV while Uchis was surrounded by everything she owned, cast out by her family. This final track almost acts as a signifier of how far the artist has come. From a humble background in Virginia, to living in her car, she now finds herself in Los Angeles and collaborating with some of the most influential names in the industry. Isolation feels like a project of love, as it glides across genres, dropping hit singles along the way.