When Connie Constance first met the world in the late 2010’s, the smokescreen around her was still partially fogged. Encouraged to pursue the kind of R&B and soul that might be traditionally associated with a young female performer of colour, her 2019 debut album ‘English Rose’ was likeable but not always fully realised, like it was somebody else’s dream rather than her own.
Going independent during the pandemic, her second album ‘Miss Power’ marks a rebirth, a regaining of personal reigns. Perhaps unsurprising for an album that draws its title from the artist’s birth surname, it reveals an artist who has never sounded more at home in herself, confidently adventuring across guitar sounds. The singles – ‘Mood Hoover’, ‘Till The World’s Awake’, and ‘Hurt You’ – all approach the indie disco from a different entrance, but they serve to illustrate her dualities; the former a noodly shoegaze about the acceptance of a lover’s flaws, the middle a skittering Florence and The Machine forest-party knees-up, and the latter a slice of dark, racing post-punk, built around an irresistible bassline that recalls the witching-hour spirit of Bloc Party’s ‘A Weekend In The City’.
Constance’s full, rounded voice suits the brattier deliveries well, but also copes effortlessly on pretty, melodic choruses. Rubbing shoulders with the ram-punktious ‘Kamikaze’ (inspired by the zero-fucks-given attitude of riot grrrl), there is the beautiful ‘Home’, delicately tumbling through the rabbit hole of finger-plucked folk. “No, no, no, don’t fuck this up” she murmurs repeatedly, seemingly willing herself to cross the finish line on everything she has worked so hard for. The song closes with a fatherly voice, grounding her and reminding her that everything she needs lies firmly within; “ain’t nobody else like you…come on love, let’s go down the pub”.
A warm and gentle hand, it sets the tone perfectly for ‘Yuck’, the album’s boldest triumph. Like Adele’s ‘Hometown Glory’ or Jamie T’s ‘Panic Prevention’ before it, it is an undeniable love letter to Great Britain, flitting between subjects and sights with friendly, free-roaming melancholy. As she speak-sings the small details that make up a city (“spit on the floor/chewing gum bubbling up…loud noise/loud friends”), she explores “all the parts that makes us gross”, finding loving revelation of her own: “but life is going pretty swell now / I’ve been smiling a lot / Can’t you tell?”
Woven from a great many creative ideas, ‘Miss Power’ could have felt messy. But through Constance’s skilful bird’s eye view, it instead twists the key in the pandora’s box of her potential, re-introducing her unique take on the world. If this is her coming of age, who knows what powers she might unleash next?
- Release date: November 4, 2022
- Record label: PIAS