Album Reviews

Fabiana Palladino – Fabiana Palladino

(Paul Institute/XL) UK release date: 5 April 2024

The British pop artist dazzles with a suite of infectious tunes in various styles on a debut that’s been a long time coming

Fabiana Palladino - Fabiana Palladino When ‘bedroom pop’ sounds as slick and professional as this, it’s perhaps time to abandon the genre name altogether. Fabiana Palladino’s self-titled debut album, released through Jai Paul‘s Paul Institute, takes inspiration from a grab bag of stars and styles, from R&B to disco, the results are sometimes charmingly retro and other times fresh and inventive.

The backbeat to Can You Look In The Mirror? is mesmerising, syncopated ride cymbals popping and locking in between shimmying snares, while the chord sequence rises and falls with a hint of dissonant unease. Palladino’s delivery is elegant, addressing an old flame with a degree of ambivalence (“Didn’t plan to stay alone, babe / still don’t understand the reasons why / but I’m not ashamed, babe / just living on my own, not waiting for no one”), and the song ends up being a shoe-in for 2024’s smoothest bop.

The taut strumming of Shoulda complements a winning hook and driving drums, perhaps a bit of Prince worship on show, while Deeper’s groove is much more electronic. The latter’s title is extended to form a musical vapour trail throughout the hook, while the verses focus on the lure of hedonism after a long period of introversion.

The slower songs aren’t all winners (see the rather underpowered Jai Paul collaboration I Care) but I Can’t Dream Anymore is a real highlight. Chiming synths ring out over dynamic chords, as Palladino laments her feelings of numbness with just the right amount of melodramatic flair (“The moon is brighter / I’m staring at it night after night / when I go to sleep I’m tired / but I can’t dream anymore”).

This record has been a long time coming, as Fabiana first appeared as one to watch in 2017, but with her development as a singer, songwriter and producer it’s surely been worth the wait.

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Fabiana Palladino – Fabiana Palladino