Vancouver’s Amy Kirkpatrick possesses an infectious voice capable of producing serene narrative atop a current of dub-inspired basslines and careening synth runs. Like Lykke Li and Natasha Khan, the Data Romance frontwoman/lyricist doesn’t shy away from the maximum-minimalism of her production partner, she heightens the drama with lyrics decrying the actions of her past. During Kirkpatrick’s bouts of reflection throughout the duo’s debut full-length, Other, production partner Ajay Bhattacharyya caresses her delicate timbre with subtle key strokes and light percussion or amplifies the singer’s inner angst with a growling low-end combined with a jump-up midrange.
“I can show you the slides / Numbers and lines / Youre so much lighter at night…I cant keep your mind off,” recounts Kirkpatrick about the politics of love and lust on “Can’t Keep Your Mind Off”. During the track’s bleakest moments, the instrumentation is reduced to a lost, syncopated bass beat surrounding Kirkpatrick’s inner-harmonic dialogue. This struggle with inter-personal relationship bleeds over to the pounding techno undertones of “Only a Few”, with a more self-assured Kirkpatrick emerging on “Paper Thin”.
The man, or men, at the root of this frustration remains vague, but “She’s Been High” hints that a past lover may have been tempted by another female, leading to the album’s most incendiary dancefloor scorchers. Odes to a fresh separation, “Waiting Place” and “Final Round” reveal that even after so much heartbreak, sometimes love is an addiction that isn’t easily overcome.
Some of the elements of Data Romance leave a bit to be desired, as Kirkpatrick’s lyrics are sometimes too poppy and Bhattacharyya often rehashes a common low-end. But combined, the duo wrangle the turbulence that has haunted Kirkpatrick’s former relationships.
Essential Tracks: “Only a Few”, “She’s Been High”, and “Final Round”