In his new single “Ice Breaker,” Franky Selector is far less concerned in the indulgence of disco than he is about the appropriation of its lustiest components, namely the funk bloodline it shares so vividly with the hip-hop we know in 2021. There’s a lot of instrumental dreaminess to behold in the groove and primary hook in “Ice Breaker,” but none of it ever sounds produced by the same sort of mechanical conceptualism we could have found within the discography of any indie experimentalist today. Instead, this is the product of dedicated exceptionalism the likes of which I don’t have the chance to review very often. 


This bass has more color than it initially knows what to do with, but as Franky Selector layers on the vaporwave-style pop features that blend into a haze of harmonies by the halfway point in the song, “Ice Breaker” starts to feel more cohesive – and ostensibly flamboyant. It pulls together a decadent profile out of almost nothing, and given that the arrangement remains within the realm of minimalism long into all of the bombast here, it’s never debatable whether or not we’re listening to something organic and true to a stripped-down pop model most any generation has exploited in one fashion or another. 

The vocal and the sax parts here form what could be the most jarring and eroticized harmony in Franky Selector’s last record, and I appreciate how well they complement the sentiments of the lyrics. Straight and to-the-point doesn’t have to sound black and white at the end of the day, but instead as full-bodied and color-saturated as the high definition speakers will allow (and, if you’re fortunate enough to have a decent sound system, there’s a lot of different sonic pigments to be studied in a track as elaborately immersive as “Ice Breaker” feels). 

There’s a heady dose of tension on the backend of this mix that feels amazing at the start of the song and slowly dissipates into nothing by the conclusion, but other than extending its presence here, I don’t think there’s anything I would change about the structure of the track. One of the best parts about “Ice Breaker” is that it sounds complete in every way, even as a bridge piece to the other songs in the tracklist of Never Better. Franky Selector is someone who thinks about the little details, and that’s obvious just listening to his new single. 

Telling stories through more than lush lyrics is a talent that few artists I encounter possess with any legitimacy, but it’s something that Franky Selector has proven himself capable of doing in all three of the albums he’s released under this present moniker, starting with Under the Midnight Sun (which turns a staggering ten years old this year). He’s not slowing his momentum for anything, but pressing on the gas a little more in “Ice Breaker.” There’s virtually no corner of the pop map he isn’t willing to venture to if it means coming back with something valuable on his back, and here, we hear some of his most inventive work so far. 

Garth Thomas