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La Chica: La Loba review – a she-wolf’s ghostly grief

(Zamora)
The tragic death last year of the singer-songwriter’s brother informs every beat of this powerfully minimal EP

The seminal 1992 book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, has inspired many a witchy woman in pop, from Bat for Lashes and Florence Welch to Kelly Lee Owens. Its stories about recapturing your wildness have often provided solace in difficult times, which is certainly true of French-Venuezelan musician La Chica. The follow-up to her 2019 debut, Cambio, changed course after the death of her brother (pictured left on the album cover) last year.

The EP’s seven short whirls of minimal piano grapple with grief, and eventually harness the energy of La Loba (the “she-wolf”) to pull La Chica (Sophie Fustec) through. Catchy songs these are not – La Chica is more interested in mood and layering her voice to ghostly effect, while an interlude nods to her love of Debussy. The title track, meanwhile, suggests a huge hip-hop production, stripped back: the ominous plink-plonk of the keys intertwines with the urgency of flamenco handclaps, her sing-speak akin to a trap rapper’s. It’s a great song, and one you long to hear the maximal version of. Still, the suggestion is there: that La Chica is the next otherworldly pop star, ready to take flight, broomstick and all.

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