Love and other demons beware
If there was one word to describe Kali Uchis’ newest album Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞, it would be fluid. Uchis brings to this album a smooth vocal quality without it sounding inhumanly perfect in the way an overly auto-tuned performance can. Her voice is the standout of the album, while still blending well with the beats and instrumentation. Speaking of which, the album seamlessly shifts between a nearly orchestral and rich acoustic sound and a more modern series of involved beats, some of which take cues from modern trap and hip-hop with rolling high hats and rhythmic patterns. This kind of synthesis is really core to the whole listening experience, as the album’s track order seems to be designed to set the mood for great effect.
The first two tracks, “la luna enamorada” and “fue mejor,” both set a slower speed to introduce the project, though the second comes in with a more intense and driven beat to start picking up the pace. With 14 tracks, Sin Miedo isn’t exactly light on its auditory offerings.
Uchis packs a range of sounds into the runtime, while never quite breaking from the album’s theme. The daring style of the fifth track “vaya con ios” is a standout example of the album’s title, which translates to “No Fear (of Love and Other Demons).” The infinity sign could be taken to mean a commitment to the ideal of not fearing intimacy or other issues, perhaps literally read as appending Forever to the end of the title.
Another strong point of synthesis on the album is its use of features. The three named guest artists all do well to integrate onto the track, though there is also a noticeable component of Uchis meeting them in the middle. On the album’s fourth track “¡aquí yo mando!” guest vocalist Rico Nasty arrives to deliver some of her own stylings, and Uchis sets her up well with a beat and introduction into her verse that resembles Nasty’s style, but leaves enough of Uchis’ own that the track isn’t out of place. The guests are given ample room to breathe, but still match the album as a whole. And when people are looking for a feature who can pull off “no fear,” Rico Nasty is certainly a good pick. The lyrics are commanding and dominating to an intense degree.
Across the board, Uchis brings a gorgeous, almost haunting quality to this album, which stands out on one of the last tracks “no eres tu (soy yo).” While she does have impressive vocals on this track, just like the rest, the real standout here is the high, somewhat distorted piano notes that give the impression of a streetlight seen through the mist at night, a distant romance ever so slightly off. That concept of distance is excellently chosen and fits right in with the song’s title and general theme: “it’s not you (it’s me).”
The instruments synchronize with Uchis, and Uchis synchronizes with the features. The beats synchronize with the instruments, and together, Kali Uchis weaves a symphony of somewhat darker emotion in Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞, which is an excellent album to start to close the year out on.