Fragments of a harmony bubble and crash into one another in a violent, but ultimately slow-motion, volley as we listen in on the first few moments of “Dangerous Love,” the first track in Kirsten Collins’ new record Floura, but while this opening salvo is indeed quite enamoring from the jump, it pales in comparison to what the next few minutes of content are going to share with us in this EP. Driven by its pulsating beats and pointed harmonies, the best of which come flying out of the ethers when we’re least expecting to encounter them, “Dangerous Love” is everything that its title would imply it could be and more, and for Collins, it provides us the best possible intro to her latest release.
“Dangerous Love” is admittedly a little rough around the edges from a compositional point of view, but when “Shadows,” the second song on this record, comes into focus, all of the loose ends left behind in the wake of its predecessor come together in a near-perfect amalgamation of texture and tonality. This song is a bit harder for novice ears to break down with regards to discerning where its heavenly harmonies start and where they come to an end, but for the discriminating listener with a taste of blanket melodies that could suffocate the audience if not heard at the proper volume, this is probably the most profoundly affectionate and vocal-driven listen on the EP. Collins pulled out the big guns for this most recent batch of studio recordings, but she was also careful to avoid the pitfalls commonly associated with pop excess.
“Thinking Bout You” is the third and final track included on Floura, and despite its running time, it also feels like the most conceptual and extravagant. There’s a sense of pendulousness to the verse here that is almost frustratingly tension-inducing, but as the song presses on, it slowly begins to dissipate, leaving us with only glowing string play and a moderate wall of ambiance to cushion in by the time the music has come to a stop. We’re at once placed in a holding pattern of stark emotionality and yanked from our surreal state simultaneously when the melody disappears into the darkness, making it quite tempting to play the entire record all over again to better understand what it is we’ve just experienced.
Floura doesn’t exactly change the world as we know it when it comes to creating an addictively evocative sound that is Kirsten Collins’ alone, but while I don’t think it’s going to trigger a sudden revolution in pop music, it is undeniably one of the best releases of its kind you’re likely to get your hands on before the conclusion of 2023. Collins doesn’t lean on the pillars of past successes when constructing the original framework behind every second of sound we hear on this EP, and by staying away from predictable songcraft, she winds up producing what feels like a watershed effort, if not for the genre, then certainly for her career.