Kadhja Bonet belongs to another world. This much we know from all her previous releases. And it’s something that’s so evident on the title, the sleeve, and the sound of her latest album Childqueen.
Bonet deals in throwback cinemascope, strings and flutes between retro-soul that evoke LA sunsets and – occasionally – a fucktonne of drama. Procession sets out that M.O. with a march of drum under her own layered harmonies; “every morning brings a chance to renew,” she sings, almost edged with purpose rather than cloying with hope.
The one potential problem with belonging to another world is that it requires joining Bonet on her flight in order to connect to her emotion. Both the title track and Another Time Lover are the moment we get to decide that, the former feeling like another procession in itself while the latter doesn’t quite connect with her words despite the inventive blips of production and a superb denouement. But it marks to Bonet’s resolve that she sticks so resolutely to her world, uncompromising or bowing to modern tropes for a single second.
And if you’re in, you’re in. Delphine and Mother Maybe highlight Kadhja Bonet’s exact appeal, their celestial melodies sounding like nothing else out there at the moment. But it’s the largely instrumental Joy that dazzles, its strings belonging to a forgotten Hollywood classic, seemingly recorded live and in the warmth of a 70s studio. And leading into Wings, it shows that nostalgia isn’t just a gimmick for Bonet (even though there is literally a song called Nostalgia here); it’s a vehicle for a form that seems forgotten, and one that feels like an utter artistic comfort in today’s maddening world.