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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Princess Chelsea: The Great Cybernetic Depression

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Princess Chelsea: The Great Cybernetic Depression

Auckland electronic space pop chanteuse  (and classically trained pianist) Chelsea Nikkel (Princess Chelsea) gained a large following with her 2011 album ‘Lil Golden Book’ and song The Cigarette Duet, which has had over 22 million YouTube views. Three years in the making, ‘The Great Cybernetic Depression’ is a concept record of sorts – set in a fictional world a decade into the future, the whole album a metaphor for anxiety and depression – Nikkel guiding her personal experiences through a beautifully melancholic, song-based narrative. Her vocals are limpid, the often baroque instrumental textures are abundant and light in touch, though there is the occasionally danger of the sadness overwhelming the songs. Melodies are abundant and the duets with Jonathan Bree – the Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood aping We Are Strangers and Is It All OK? – ground the featherweight synth lines. An interesting textural moment occurs at the end of We Were Meant 2 B, when a very ’80s guitar solo closes the song out, contrasting the light synths, and airy vocals with a heavier tone. Gloomy and pretty, you might not hear a lovelier album this year.