Fabiana Palladino : Fabiana Palladino

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Fabiana Palladino review

Fabiana Palladino is an artist you might have heard before without knowing you heard her. Throughout the past decade she’s put her songwriting, instrumental and vocal talents to use through appearances on records from the likes of Jessie Ware, Jai Paul and Sampha. It’s a path not unlike that chosen by her father, jazz and session bassist Pino Palladino, whose playing can be found on dozens of records, including Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun and D’Angelo’s Voodoo. In 2017 and 2018, after a mostly unheard debut single, Fabiana Palladino stepped into a spotlight of her own with the release of a pair of singles via Jai and A.K. Paul’s Paul Institute imprint, “Mystery” and “Shimmer,” showcasing an auspicious two sides of gossamer neon funk that revealed her as a marquee performer with chops to spare.

A little over six years later, she delivers on the early promise of those two standout tracks with a spectacularly crafted debut album that establishes her as a visionary of sophisticated art-pop groove. Palladino draws from a fascinating spectrum of sounds that weaves through Minneapolis Sound funk and R&B—both Prince and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis—as well as ’80s sophisti-pop and contemporary electronic music. It’s a fusion as chic and illusorily familiar as the Nagel-in-Avalon image of Palladino herself on the record’s violet-hued cover art. And it sounds uniformly spectacular, from the arresting percussive snap of “Can You Look in the Mirror?” to the gauzy ballad “I Care,” originally released last year in collaboration with Jai Paul.

Like so many of the best pop albums, Palladino’s debut is essentially a breakup album, its 10 songs awash in varying shades of melancholy and regret. From the low-key groove of opening track “Closer,” she wavers on whether or not a connection is worth making (“Shouldn’t give you hope, I might let you down/Because I don’t even know if I want you around“), and on the stellar, widescreen ballad “I Can’t Dream Anymore,” she lets any lingering hope float away. Yet desire creeps in as the sadness wanes on “Stay With Me Through the Night,” a spectacular sensorial experience of a song, driven in no small part by her father Pino’s own fluid bassline and drummer Steve Ferrone’s rhythmic strut.

Even as Palladino nurses emotional wounds throughout her debut, she has the benefit of being in good company as she channels it into creative catharsis. Her father Pino, her brother Rocco, Jamie Woon, alt-J’s Joe Newman as well as label head and previous collaborator Paul, who executive produced the record, all appear throughout the record, to name some of its notable contributors. The collective talent here is off the charts, to say nothing of Fabiana herself, whose vision has yielded 10 breathtaking pop standouts, whether channeling The Revolution in “Shoulda” or building a mesmerizing pop song out of metallic, percussive synth textures on “In the Fire.” Songs like these ensure that Fabiana Palladino is also the sort of artist you’ll never forget.

Label: Paul Institute/XL

Year: 2024

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Fabiana Palladino review

Fabiana Palladino : Fabiana Palladino

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