All Solange Knowles shares with big sis Beyoncé is a family crest. And on the hypnotic sugar-rush that is True (a sort of LP/EP hybrid, following two full-length solo albums), that distinction’s never been clearer: This R&B problem child has finally delivered on her undeniable promise.
On her 2008 breakout, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, Solange worked with some of the world’s hottest, hippest producers (Cee-Lo Green, Mark Ronson, The Neptunes), showcasing an eclectic, offbeat sensibility that blended soul, dance-pop, hip-hop, funk, and psychedelia—but Solange herself was often lost amidst the sonic swirl. The Dev Hynes-produced True, her first release on Chris Taylor’s Terrible Records, is both weirder and more cohesive: The funky, inhumanly hooky “Losing You”—with its loopy percussion and bold synths—sounds like ‘80s-era Madonna sampling Talking Heads; on the seductive “Locked-Up Closets,” futuristic Moogs squiggle over bricolage beats, as Solange’s breathy harmonies waft in like pot mists. Woman’s on fire—the lone awkward moment isn’t her fault whatsoever: Hynes derails the (surprisingly) buttery-smooth “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work” with an off-putting spoken-word cameo.
In the past, Solange dabbled with genres and moods like finger-paints; with True, she’s made some bold, inventive brushstrokes.