Auckland-bred, currently LA-based electro-pop dream girl Chelsea Jade has opened a vault of jejune melodramas with her first full-length record, ‘Personal Best’.
The synth-fuelled 11-track album remains as palatial as 2014’s ‘Beacons’, while still showing the vulnerability that has been a hallmark of Chelsea Jade Metcalf’s former work under various guises.
After sitting on this album for a year, wondering how best to release it, Chelsea begins with an expression of uncertainty. Resembling a self-consciousness internal monologue, the title track attempts to define her apparently limitless frontiers before the album progresses.
This underlying apprehension carries throughout, as undulating electronic instrumentation divides atomically with Ride Or Cry, serves an axial tilt for Life of the Party before plummeting straight back to earth with Low Brow – several of the instalments in a slew of single releases over the past four years.
Chelsea sheds the familiar skin of suffering with help of various production techniques and studios of Sam McCarthy, Natalie Angiuli, Justyn Pilbrow, Bradley Hale and Big Taste (Leroy Clampitt), blending the unique spaciousness inherent to LA music natives and a Kiwi versatility that is less borrowed, more earned. Self-released via Create Music Group, an LA-based start-up (it’s not a record label, not quite), her intention to remain independent seems clear.
Momentum of hook-laden pop albums can be challenging to maintain, and by the ninth track, Over Sensitive, the formulaic verse-chorus outfit wanes in novelty, picking back up with a divergent hook near the final song Speedboat.
Something is not yet fully formed in her identity as an artist, and although this adds to the diffident charm of ‘Personal Best’ it seems evident that Chelsea Jade’s personal best is yet to come. This album has already won considerable praise and one can only dream of what she might next produce in the throes of self-discovery.