New Zealand synth pop musician Princess Chelsea (aka Chelsea Nikkel) is back with her fourth album The Loneliest Girl, due for release via Lil' Chief Records on 7 September.
The first single from the album "I Love My Boyfriend" sounds like a garage rock trio who just discovered the Mellotron. The video was shot by Chelsea at her Auckland home in front of a green
screen, cloning herself to create a band. It was premiered over at Noisey, who chatted to Chelsea about the new album and wrote: "The Auckland musician is here to subvert expectations...
she begins in a voice sweeter than peach pie and syrup, her voice gliding over slow, classic garage rock riffs that sit somewhere between Velvet Underground and The Cramps... her eyes sparkling
through a deadpan expression, injecting a pure shot of cynicism into an otherwise saccharine tale of romance." You can read all about it here.
"I Love My Boyfriend" is about feeling attracted to somebody else when you're in a monogamous relationship. The narrator feels guilty about their feelings for another person even though they "love their boyfriend" and don't intend to act on it. It's sung in a cheesy girly sort of way inspired by 60s pop songs with the word "boyfriend" in the chorus. However, the lyrics are pretty cynical, particularly in the spoken word section in which the narrator appears to make fun of their own feelings. The music emulates this contrast of sweet and sour with pretty harps and harpsichords set against a dirtier garage rock arrangement.
The Loneliest Girl was recorded by Chelsea between 2016 and 2017 in her home studio in West Auckland, New Zealand with production assistance from labelmate Jonathan Bree. Chelsea’s trademark arrangements featuring classic 80s Synths (Yamaha DX7, Roland D-50), ambient guitars, and orchestral instruments are all here but are presented in a more refined and simple manner than on her previous releases.
Princess Chelsea will be heading to Europe for a tour in September including a date at London's Shacklewell Arms on 9 September (see full tour dates below).
The album examines the loneliness and ultimately the artistic satisfaction a strong work ethic can bring, the result of which is this eclectic collection of pop songs. As a studio based artist Chelsea was conscious of not wanting to fall too deep into a production hole for her third album and wanted to more than ever before capture moments of inspiration, madness and spontaneity on record.
A classically trained pianist, Nikkel lent her talents to self-professed "circus punk" act Teen Wolf in the mid-2000s, and later in the touring lineup of indie pop outfit the Brunettes. When she wasn't performing, she worked as a composer for a local recording studio, all the while refining her songwriting and production skills. Her full-length debut as Princess Chelsea, Lil' Golden Book, was released in late 2011 by New Zealand label Lil' Chief, and included the viral YouTube hit "Cigarette Duet" (over 40 million views and counting). The album was a collection of songs about her youth presented with innocent melodies and baroque arrangements to create a musical fairy tale. The juxtaposition of her simple arrangements, childlike delivery and cynical wit is a signifiant and defining characteristic of her music.
She followed up with a synth-heavy sci-fi opera about a future world rendered helpless in the face of depression brought on by technology, The Great Cybernetic Depression was released by Lil' Chief and Flying Nun in June 2015. She also released a suprise album of covers called Aftertouch, featuring covers by Nirvana, The Beatles, Interpol, Lucinda Williams and Marianne Faithfull.
Stylistically The Loneliest Girl moves away the more uniform synth sounds of The Great Cybernetic Depression to more eclectic territory similar to her first release Lil’ Golden Book and certainly sounds like a record made by a lover of pop music across all genres from 60s girl groups to 80s power ballads, and late 80s acid house to 90s pop. Like her earlier work, adult issues are presented in a humorous and sometimes childlike manner, and this juxtaposition rather than softening the blow makes jarring social commentary hit harder.
Full European tour dates here:
31.08.2018 PL – Gdansk - Soundrive Festival
07.09.2018 FR - Bordeaux - Iboat
09.09.2018 UK – London - Shacklewell Arms
12.09.2018 FR - Paris - Point Ephemere
18.09.2018 BE - Liege - Reflektor
19.09.2018 NL – Amsterdam - Paradiso / Indiestad
20.09.2018 DE - Hamburg - Reeperbahn Festival
21.09.2018 DK – Bucharest - Control Club
22.09.2018 DE – Berlin - Funkhaus / Indiesession
23.09.2018 DE – Dresden - Beatpol
25.09.2018 CZ – Prague - Jazzdock
26.09.2018 CZ – Pilzen - Andel
27.09.2018 SK – Presov - Christiania
28.09.2018 SK - Liptovsky Mikulas - Diera Do Sveta
29.09.2018 CZ – Ostrava - Cooltour
01.10.2018 CZ – Brno - Fleda
04.10.2018 CH – Geneva - Kalingrad
05.10.2018 GR – Athens - Fuzz Club