One to watch: Tirzah

The offbeat vocalist makes her mark at last with a singular debut produced by schoolfriend Mica Levi

A few years ago, Tirzah Mastin was one of a clutch of intriguing British post-R&B artists. FKA twigs was probably the most famous, and Jai Paul the most infamous. Tirzah and her schoolfriend Mica “Micachu” Levi produced a handful of go-thither, club-adjacent tracks that you’d struggle to play in any club that charged entry (notably, one EP was called I’m Not Dancing). Next, Mastin featured on a pair of so-so songs with lo-fi legend Tricky, and then silence.

Four years later, Mastin, now 30, and Levi have made an album of strange, collapsed pop, and it’s far better than we could have hoped. Frighteningly intimate, lived-in as an unmade bed, Devotion proffers 11 prayers to the thousand tiny betrayals and unpredictable rituals of modern love.

Tirzah sings as if she’s forgotten you’re listening, and the music is similarly distracted, self-interrupted. On the title track, Mastin and Coby Sey’s vocals intertwine like lovers’ legs on a winter night, and the resulting monomania slowly drags you into Tirzah’s unsafe headspace. “I need all of your attention/ Sometimes I think that’s all I need,” she murmurs. She’s out on a short tour this autumn – make sure she gets that attention.

• Tirzah’s debut album, Devotion, is released on Domino on 10 August. She plays End of the Road festival, Wiltshire, 31 August

Tirzah – Devotion (featuring Coby Sey)


Damien Morris

The GuardianTramp

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