‘The Smoke’ is Alina Astrova’s third and best LP as Lolina since placing her Inga Copland and Hype Williams projects on ice...
It renders a poetically insightful study of life in London, where she ekes out a sense of shadow-strafing play from its fetid streets, revelling in the spaces between sticky pavements and 24 hour off license-lit environs with a signature mix of ennui and louche observation framed by layered and attractively tacky production.
As an emigre living in the UK, Lolina’s perspective is perhaps ever more intriguing in the current climate of both footie, Novichok and Brexit fevers as her experience of the city feels embedded yet dreamily detached, with bright, fizzing synth presets and smudged, viscous rhythms meshed to her vocals in a manner that connotes a red-eyed mind drifting dazed between dawning afternoons and smeared evenings, coolly beguiled at the scenes unfolding around her.
The result is Lolina’s smartest solo record, a perfect headphone accompaniment to the capital, reflecting its character and characters in its mix of quizzically jazzy and arcane, chamber-like turns of phrase with sparing daubs of field recording peppered by ear-snagging lines such as “your eyes are one, your voice around me / why don’t you leave me in peace, to smoke my trees” in the massive highlight ‘A Path of Weeds and Flowers’, or the sung/spoken schismatics of “fake city/real city/cut the fug with a shank” in the drowsy jag of ‘Fake City, Real City’. (text by Boomkat)