The understated, spacy beatmaking of Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan complemented Pull My Hair Back, Jessy Lanza’s debut album from three years ago, to noteworthy levels. Although her vocals didn’t manage to hit a consistently confident stride throughout that effort, there were enough eye-popping moments to call her an artist to watch in the future. Now, in the late spring of 2016, she wisely continues her collaboration with Greenspan and finds herself reaching deep into her bag of soul to create an LP swiftly titled, Oh No. Fair warning: this is one of those underground dancefloor records you’d like to have around for the right hour and/or mood.
For fans that have been excited about Lanza since the beginning, three years would have undoubtedly been a tough wait to swallow, but the slow-bleeding intro track “New Ogi”, complete with a full minute of instrumental ice breaking, will settle even the biggest fan’s nerves. Greenspan doubles down on the production for this sophomore effort, but what’s most important is that Lanza herself sounds entirely in command for the long haul and beyond. It is in a three song stretch, starting with the true banger “It Means I Love You”, that we’re not only witnessing a vocalist and artist finding herself, but one who is charging ahead with energy and gravitas. “Vivica” and the title track “Oh No” complete this important trio of cuts at the heart of the record. The songs cement the full-length effort as one of the most entertaining and consistently dancy albums of the year.
As a debut, Pull My Hair Back was undeniably a solid album. It was a promise of things to come. But the next step is always more difficult for the modern musician. Oh No is, without a doubt, a step in the right forward direction for the Canadian artist. It’s an improvement in every facet for Lanza’s potentially massive career. Let’s hope it only continues to propel her, creatively, into the future.