Loraine James released her debut album For You And I towards the end of 2019, right at the moment for a true potential breakout. Like it did for millions of others, 2020 sent her plans into a tailspin and grounded her completely, not allowing her to complete her plans to tour on the back of the LP. With the extra time at home, she, like many other producers, decided to dive into making new music. This netted a new album Reflection.
The title reflects what a lot of us did as the world stood still. With this time to think, her musical tastes shifted as well. She got more into grime and drill, which started to seep into the making of Reflection. The shuffling footwork, unflinching jungle and techno are still present, but there is growth into new sonic avenues.
That is immediately felt from the opening tip on “Built to Last” with Xzavier Stone with its bounce and blend of pop and trap. She reconnects with Le3 bLack on “Black Ting” for another downcast grime number, while the album ends on a more hopeful note that despite the fuckery we find around us, things will get better with “We’re building something new” featuring Manchester rapper Iceboy Violet.
2020 was also a period where many of us considered who we are and what we wanted to do. “Self Doubt” is a look at her insecurity that even in a place where one should feel free to express herself, she still feels the need to leave the club early. Her collaboration with Baths “On the Lake outside” is the gentlest of the bunch to soften some of those feelings. The title track slowly builds with airy techno beats and her distant voice giving a soundtrack to the past year in the background. Eden Samara throws another curveball to the mix with “Running like that” for a blend of R&B and trap that still fits in this genre-hopping album.
Loraine James explores new avenues with this album to great effect. This may not have the same relentless dancefloor energy as some singles or past EPs, but the project feels more complete. With drill, grime, R&B and trap, she found new ways to reflect on 2020 and the difficulties of being a Black woman.