As a long term observer of the new wave of artists that have sprung up in the last five years, there have been few spots as bright as Lady Donli. With the exception of juggernauts like Tau Iwar, this cache of artists while sonically ambitious have been lazy with storytelling and unremarkable with songwriting. Not Donli though, her first project Alice, was carefully thought out, and built around the Lewis Carroll book ‘Alice in Wonderland’. That album however, was heavily influenced by the neo-soul wave that was sweeping the UK where Donli was studying and didn’t really work for her lower register vocals.
This gap between her ambitions and her range has hamstrung her projects since then, especially glaring on her runaway hit single “Ice-Cream” and why her second independently released EP “Songs For Her” never really got the mainstream appeal of “Alice”. Lady Donli has long needed to return to the drawing board and rejig her sound to better complement her unique set of talents.
It seems a year of physical shows and a living room tour provided Donli time to reflect on her sound thus far and switch things up a bit. Her first single from the new project she’s been teasing for the last few months suggests she’s finally found that balance. “Games” features GJtheCeasar and is Donli first single she’s comfortable enough about to take off free streaming platform Soundcloud. As far as genres go, “Games” takes element from Electronic Dance, 80’s Disco and the American bounce music. This faster, more urgent pop is better suited to Donli, and she plays excellently off GJtheCaesar, delivery a duet that is so in-sync you can scarcely imagine “Games” working any other way. Together they weave a complex story of complicit infidelity, a girl who’s loved her way into a trap and a man that is torn between two women and can’t choose.
The strong’s through magic though are its hooks and chorus, vocal manipulation, layered vocals and insistent thumping bass kept “Games” in the back of mind long after I first heard it. “Games” is a true genre-defying opus, it deserves all the accolades.
Stream “Games” here.