Compared to the 30 years or so it took Santigold to get her first album out, the 4 year gap between that and this, her sophomore effort, isn’t so long a time. Still, 4 years is still a lifetime in our hashtag world- is there still room for the artist who wowed critics with 2007s Santogold? The intervening years have seen M.I.A – in many ways Santi’s fore runner –cementing her position in the States and proving there is a mass audience for off kilter vocal chants, schizo beats and ghettoquaking bass, and Master of My Make-Believe is Santi’s attempt to grab a slice of the pie back.
The album is bookended by its strongest tracks—opener Go! is a jittering cheerleaders chant—a shit kicking update of Hey Mickey that Madonna would give her Pilates toned right arm for. It’s followed by the deep punk dub of Disparate Youth—deservedly the albums first single release, with a massive, sexy ass bass line, jagged guitars and vocal yearnings destined to burn dancefloors worldwide. But then things sag— other than the propulsive cutesy bashment of Freak Like Me, the body of the album feels like half formed ideas in dire need of a sprinkling of magic. It’s not until the 9th track—the epic, CIndi Lauperesque The Keepers- a songthat wouldn’t sound out of place gracing The Goonies soundtrack- that Santi pulls it back together—then it’s a fine run to the finish with closing numbers Look At These Hoes and Big Mouth delivering dutty bass, tribal percussion and hooky chants in abundance.
So, as an EP Master of My Make-Believe would have been a killer—but as a full length it suffers from Santi’s vocal style—her kinetic flow can turn a hard beat into a killer track, but her limited range doesn’t seem enough to rescue filler tracks from mediocrity. Still, in a world where people rarely download full albums, 5 tracks that hit ain’t too bad at all.
Available on May 1st