Album review: Ashnikko

Ashnikko - Demidevil (Warner)

SHE LOOKS like a blue haired version of She-Ra's Entrapta, armed with an equally colourful array of hip hop, garage, and pop beats - even a touch of emo - and an attitude that screams 'women power'.

Opening track 'Daisy' sets out the stall quickly: "F*** a princess, I'm a king/Bow down and kiss on my ring", while 'Toxic', rises above its conventional r'n'b/electropop structure due to the strength of Ashnikko's delivery, and the assertion of her own agency: "Heard a rumor that you said you made me who I am/You think you're the man...You can't stand to see me shine/Better buy a visor/You don't ever cross my mind."

That sense of women's independence - such a theme of this mixtape - is brought fully to the fore on 'Deal With It', full of hip hop/r'n'b swagger, punctuated with a touch of emo-rock melodrama, and where the 'I hate you so much right now' refrain and assorted screams from Kelis' 'Caught Out There' are used to thrilling effect. The emo-rock/r'n'b hybrid is pushed to its fullest extent on 'Cry', featuring Grimes. It is a strange hybrid, but it works.

'Slumber Party' is the most seductive and addictive song on the mixtape, all slinky beats and sexy vocals, with lyrics as explicit as anything Prince or Snoop Dogg ever came up with. Whether a song of out and proud lesbian sexuality or an unintentional pandering to male fantasy is, however, open to debate. It is though, trying to challenge what women can talk about in pop.

The upshot of it all is Ashnikko is young, loud, and bratty, a punk sensibility in bubblegum pop clothing, and with a lot to say. She is not the full package yet, with a few things still to work out. That said, this is modern, r'n'b pop with an edge, a sense of mischief, and buckets of attitude. These ears will gladly hear more.


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