Chelsea Lankes recently released the big and beautiful “Love. Hate. Pain. Killer.,” her contribution to the soundtrack for the short Vice film, Mr. Happy, starring Chance the Rapper.
The singer has had the attention of retrosynthers such as Futurecop!, Room8, and Patrick Baker, and I can see why. Her contemplative brand of pop is infused with nods to the crystalline qualities of Electric Youth and even Futurecop!’s own earnest pop creations.
Sure, there are big drums, soaring strings, and twinkling guitars that sound more like a modern cinematic power ballad, but the song’s framework is retro-minded. There is a slow synth-bass arpeggiator straight out of the 1980s. The lead guitar engages in a subtle ode to the poppiest sensibilities of The Cure.
Retro studies aside, Lankes’ pipes are gorgeous, moving about from a tender whisper to an emphatic tone to match the music — although she never gets so self-indulgent as to match the tasteful bombast of the instruments. That hesitation gives her voice and the words she sings so much more resonance.
Check out “Love” on Lankes’ SoundCloud page, and stick around for her other work, especially “Ghost.”