Listening to the recorded output of 20-year-old Los Angeles singer, model, actress, and meme Sky Ferreira, it’s clear that the star-in-the-making is being pulled in a number of conflicting directions. Whether that’s a result of corporate interests at work behind the scenes, or her own generationally appropriate genre attention span remains to be seen. Her performance at T.T. the Bear’s on Tuesday played out the schizophrenic pace of her two EPs’ varied musical colors in a short 30-minute set.
“Lost in My Bedroom” set the table with its throbbing, dirty bass line and chiming synths, with Ferreira skipping between a lilting and husky vocal approach. The song is the type of pouting electro-pop you might expect to hear soundtracking a runway fashion show, which Ferreira, with her aloof stage presence, ably conjured through a series of self-conscious and endearingly awkward poses.
Any questions a skeptic might’ve had going in about the perils of hype were quickly put to rest, however, with the genuine quality of her vocals. New song “You’re Not the One,” a crisply snare-driven beat with a dulcetly looping guitar hook showcased her four-piece band’s control of dynamic shifts, and her own surprisingly powerful voice. On “Red Lips” the churning, ’90s style standout, she assumed a vamping persona that matched the song’s grinding moxie. All of this was a stark contrast to songs like the positively Dylan-esque acoustic number “Werewolf (From Waist Down),” and the gently strummed “Sad Dream,” another folk-style piano and guitar torch song. A third slower number, “Ghost,” evoked a smoky noir-themed nightclub setting with Ferreira assuming a voice weary beyond her years.
On “Everything Is Embarrassing,” her retro homage to ’80s New York 808 beats and synth-driven romance, Ferreira came alive singing by far her (and maybe the whole year’s) best song. It’s easy to dismiss an obvious star-push like this, but Ferreira’s got the talent — if not yet the stage presence or the catalog — to live up to the hype, especially if she’s got more songs like this in store.
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