Image Source: LOLAWOLF Facebook
It’s been six years since R&B and electropop duo LOLAWOLF dropped their debut album, Calm Down. Since then the band, made up of actress and singer Zoë Kravitz and drummer and producer Jimmy Giannopoulos, dropped an EP in 2015 and a few singles but have been silent since their last release single in 2017. Last month, the duo quietly made their return, dropping two singles Not Diana and Tenderness. Fans had long been awaiting their return to music and only had to wait less than two weeks for the duo’s sophomore album, Tenderness.
The album, which dropped on all streaming services today, is more stripped back in production making it feel more considered than their debut. There are still experimental tracks and bold electro pop beats, but the vulnerability of Kravtiz’s vocals and lyrics paired with Giannopoulos’ production creates a whole new atmosphere. The records opener, Heart Attack, recalls a past relationship and the contradiction of missing someone, but not wanting them back. Kravitz sings “I need you like a heart attack”. The track features dreamy synth harmonies and some synth brass, that when paired with the singers effortless and vulnerable vocals creates one of the albums best moments. Whole House could be the perfect quarantine and self-isolation track the world needs right now. The beat heavy track features distorted rap vocals from Kravitz, “Got the whole house but I only hang in my room. Got the whole street but I only hang in my house. Got the whole hood but I only hang on my block.” Do Ya Think? utilises the distorted electronic production the duo have been known for, but is still stripped back with a badass chorus. The albums lead single Not Diana, continued the vulnerability that is threaded throughout the record. The synthesised harmonies, vulnerability and structure are reminiscent of Imogen Heap’s iconic track, Hide and Seek. Kravitz’s casual mid-register croon is the perfect match for Giannopoulos’ effortless production.
The albums title track is a fresh and funky moment on the record, and perhaps its most experimental moment. Kravitz sings “I need some tenderness”, which is exactly what the record has provided - tender moments within an electro pop, R&B world. Girl Crush, is a synthesised interlude and the albums penultimate track. The records final track, It Was Real, is the conclusion of the conceptual thread of tenderness and vulnerability exhibited throughout the album. The song is a highlight in an album full of standout tracks.
The record is an evolution from the duos debut. Giannopoulos’ production is more considered and direct but still maintains the wild and erratic sounds the duo have delivered over the years. The record exhibits Kravitz’s versatility as a vocalist, producing emotion stirring effortless vocals but also moments of gutsy rapping. She doesn’t need to belt out high notes to get her point across. The band have continued their anti-popstar approach when it comes to their releases, having chosen to not promote the record. Kravitz herself has not acknowledged the release on her social media platforms, while Giannopoulos took to Instagram to say “I’ve never worked as hard as I’ve worked on this record”, and it shows. It’s hard not to groove along to the record and it is equally as hard not to feel vulnerable when listening. Tenderness is the duos best release to date, a surprise release that is hopefully an indication of the future of the group. Kravitz and Giannopoulos have created a timeless record.