Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The-Dream’s New Girl Group is Naughty and Nice

Electrik Red
How To Be A Lady, Volume 1 (Radio Killa/Def Jam)

“Girl Power” is nothing new. The concept has been alive in music for more than a decade, shifting residency from the Spice Girls to Destiny’s Child to Danity Kane and all the before and in-betweens. But so many female groups are fenced in by lyrical limits, restricted from ever springing higher than their femcee counterparts. Don’t count on the latest gang of gorgeous singers, Electrik Red—comprised of Naomi Allen, Lesley Lewis, Kyndra “Binkie” Reevey, and Sarah Rosete—to greet that ideology with anything less than a manicured middle finger. On their debut album, How To Be A Lady, Volume 1, the fearless quartet are full of lippy, high-charged tunes—polite, they are not.

It’s virtually impossible to listen to Electrik Red without being tempted to judge it as a vicarious third go-round from R&B’s Einstein, The-Dream. After all, he and partner Tricky Stewart wrote and produced Lady in its entirety. The finished product flows with easy hooks, layered composition, and eccentric idioms particular to the pair—what separates it from previous work is its raciness. The group expresses their sentiments as explicitly as possible, whether sexing and then emasculating a male in one shot (“W.F.Y.”) or proclaiming their “shawty is the shit” with confidence (“Muah”). But their feminist stance blurs when the verses get hooker-ish, as on “P Is For Power” where Binkie flirtatiously raps: “The Y is for yes / Vanilla / If you wanna try / boy you better buy“ during a curious chant about their lady parts.

Still, it’s hard to argue against those contradictions when set to the celestial melodies of The-Dream and Tricky. Electrik Red may be confused as to which wave of girl power they’d like to ride. What’s not in question: Their debut sounds damn good.

Posted: May 26, 2009 @ 6:44 pm
By Tracy Garraud



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