Rapidly rising to fame in electronic dance music, UK’s Maya Jane Coles has released her debut album Comfort. Highly anticipated and weighed with notable guest talent (Kim Ann Foxman, Karin Park, Miss Kittin, Thomas Knight and more) the album, wrought with the detailed production EDM culture has come to expect from Coles, rides the fence between dance music, downtempo and pop. Comfort skates along a very selective edge, showcasing a pop ethos without turning mainstream. Unfortunately, relying on this edge prevents the album from forming an overall identity.
Comfort ‘s issue is one that is common with most EDM albums- a lack of production diversity. The drum patterns and sound selection remain similar on each track, whether designed for a club or for listening. The songs tend to sound too much like one another, causing a lack a cohesive diversity needed for an album.
The guest appearances, while impactful (Nadine Shah and Kim Ann Foxman shine), maintain the status quo on Comfort- either dark-pop dance or dark-pop downtempo. The vocals, while airy and fleeting, also seem moody and dramatic. When paired with a dance rhythm, it becomes confusing on where exactly Coles wants to take you.
The ambition of the album is where the strength lies. A strong desire is present to break through the constraints that electronic dance music places on itself, as shown in tracks like “Blame” featuring Nadine Shaw and “Wait For You” featuring Tricky. If Coles can clamp down on the direction she wants to go future works will benefit. The potential is there, Coles just needs to grab the helm and let her musical instinct and taste-making ear take over.