Mallrat sounds like Lorde, but it works. Her songs gyrate with aquatic synthesizers that evoke images of a futuristic city, yet her profile picture on SoundCloud is of her sitting on a dark lawn with a golden retriever. Perhaps it’s this clash between hometown rustica and lavender-colored futurism that makes mallrat so exciting. Her debut EP, “Uninvited EP,” contains six songs of mallrat singing moody, wistful melodies over absolutely top-rate production. The music isn’t glaringly original, but it has a playful charm and is so well executed that it grows on you with each listen.
Mallrat could be called synth-pop, but I think an even better label for her music at this point in history would be punk. After all, mallrat’s angle is that of a disenchanted, bored teenager from the city whose parents pay her cell phone bill and is now trying Klonopin for the second time and it’s 2 a.m. On the opening track, “Tokyo Drift,” mallrat sings the depressed chorus, “Weeks were getting super long and I was getting bored / Monday doesn’t even feel like Monday any more.” The topic of “bored teenagers just trying to feel alive and swerving out of control on a Friday night” feels kind of played out at this point, but mallrat approaches the idea with a delicate and breathy sincerity.
The next track on the album, “Inside Voices,” is fire. The songs starts off with eargasmic vocal samples (once again, typical late 2010’s protocol, but done so well) and then settles into blissful, tropical synth pop. The song solidifies mallrat’s status as a mainstream underdog, one who’s not afraid to make a banger with kalimba synths playing dotted sixteenth note rhythms while still sounding better than the industry titans. (I’m looking at you, Adam Levine.)
Halfway through the EP, mallrat throws a punch with the track “Sunglasses.” The song has a Gorillaz-esque swagger to it, and in it mallrat critiques her friends for all wearing the same type of sunglasses. The track has an immense amount of vibe and badassery to it. This is the song on the album that makes you think, “Mallrat might get picked up by a big time record label in the near future.” It’s very relatable yet charmingly original.
Mallrat isn’t flipping the game on its head, but she’s playing it like a champ. “Uninvited EP” breathes with sincerity and bubblegum whimsy, in addition to being outstandingly produced. If you’re interested in keeping up with the “new new” pop stuff that’s a little ahead of the curve but still accessible, mallrat is worth checking out.