Rina Sawayama - 'SAWAYAMA'

7/10

After first introducing herself to the world with her 2017 mini-album 'Rina', Rina Sawayama has spent the last few years broadening and experimenting with her sound. While remaining very much a commercially-focused artist sonically, she has always looked to bring in a wide range of other influences, giving her direction a truly multifaceted angle that she can call her own. And after a sharp rise in buzz over the last few months, she now unveils her highly-anticipated debut album 'SAWAYAMA', a record that looks to blur the line between mainstream and underground pop music.

Opening up with the nu-metal-inspired stomper 'Dynasty', it is clear from the very start that this isn't going to be a release that conforms to the expectations of today's musical zeitgeist. Instead we begin to see this sharp contrast in direction as she seems to flip back and forth between glossy pop aesthetics and thunderous guitar and synth riffs, giving it an interesting feel to say the least. But 'SAWAYAMA' never really sounds like an album with a lack of focus, but instead reinforces its genre-bending direction at every turn and creates a release that has this familiar yet distinctive sound throughout.

It is fair to say that the only thing you should expect from 'SAWAYAMA' is to expect nothing at all. Rina Sawayama has created this guise of an artist that is always looking to explore the boundaries of her style, and this new collection is the perfect example of that adventurous nature. Never able to fully pin it down but also refreshingly recognisable.

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