London born, Joy Crookes, released her second EP Reminiscence on Friday. The five track EP centres around failed relationships and female empowerment. Crookes has previously said that Reminiscence was initially inspired by her first trip to Bangladesh (where her mother was born), but now it is a set of love songs based around a personal celebration of history and her dual nationality.
Born and raised in South London, 20-year-old Crookes has already been compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill. Her soulfully tender voice is introduced on the EP’s first track, Two Nights, a conflicted conversation with herself based around Crookes’ dating life, backed-up by a cartoon-like electronic beat. Her London upbringing is once again being injected as she “spend two nights in K-Town, two nights in Brixton, then to my ex’s to see if I missed him” creating a virtual tour of her love-life.
Crookes has previously listed some her influences, which range from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly to Frank Sinatra, both of which are apparent on the second track Man’s World. A classical jazz piano leads the melody whilst tuneful rap speaks of female empowerment through rebelling expectations of women in relationships.
The only single that was previously released on the EP is Don’t Let Me Down. After being released in November last year, the music video was premiered by i-D magazine and quickly reinforced the comparisons of Crookes to Amy Winehouse. The single, that is still classed as a demo, is a simple yet passionate song that consists only of Crookes and her guitar, making the track feel more intimate than the other more structured songs.
Because of the timeless soulful voice of Crookes, it’s easy to forget that this is only her second ever release, after she released her first EP Influence last year. Yet, compared to the first EP, it is evident that Crookes is beginning to experiment more with electronic production, more synth melodies are seen in tracks such as For a Minute which seems less like R&B and hints more at the bedroom pop genre.
Joy Crookes is an artist who injects her heritage, upbringing and identity into her work. The personal element gives her music a more intimate and modern feeling and Crookes being picked up by DJs such as Clara Amfo, with such a limited discography, should entice any new listener to her soulful music.
You can listen to Reminiscence on Spotify here.
By Abbie Aitken