BENEE has deservingly become New Zealand’s biggest international breakthrough act since Lorde. With the smash hit singles ‘Supalonely’, ‘Soaked’, ‘Glitter’ and ‘Find An Island’ already under her belt, it was only a matter of time until the singer-songwriter finally dropped her debut album.
Following in the steps of her highly acclaimed EP’s ‘FIRE ON MARZZ’ and ‘STELLA & STEVE’, she has genuinely created a strong body of work with ‘Hey u x’ that brings her emotional pain together with her empowering self growth. Hand in hand, these two elements cohesively walk through a self discovery wormhole full of darkness, quirkiness and rhythmically infectious hooks.
The lead singles ‘Supalonely’, ‘Snail’, ‘Night Garden’ and ‘Kool’ add a glittery pop element to the album, but the rest of the album is an experimental affair of melodic reprieve and genre pushing madness. ‘Happen To Me’ opens the record with a guitar and drum led indie-pop moment that then opens the door to ‘Same Effect’, and the millennial online dating inspired ‘If I Get To Meet You’ which becomes an immediate favourite.
But then she turns up the volume and influences with PC pop inspired ‘Sheesh’ featuring Grimes which is pure chaos in the best way possible. The production sounds like it’s lifted from a Charli XCX mixtape b-side, and hears BENEE in a playfully abstract light that we haven’t quite heard from her in the past. “Everything you say is the right thing. But you text me every day and I can’t keep acting like I feel the same, sheesh” she honestly sings.
Stripping it back on the Mallrat collaboration ‘Winter’, she serves you a soundtrack for the classic rainy day mood via a post apocalyptic styled storyline. But then she keeps that dreamy state alive with ‘A Little While’, ‘All The Time’ featuring Muroki, and album closer ‘C U’. To make the album a cohesive affair, she’s perfectly grouped these sonical deep dive songs together so it allows the flow of the record to sustain a momentum that is immediately set because of her inclining success.
‘Hey u x’ is a strong definitive introduction to who BENEE is as an artist on the world stage. It’s got the important moments of euphoric singalong’s, but it’s also got tender moments full of heart, and moments of experimental DIY attributes.