Cashmere Cat’s music sounds like it comes from an alternate universe, one where pillowy-soft R&B is performed by an orchestra of icicles and rubber squeak toys yet loses neither pathos nor carnal urgency. Where the Oslo native’s 2017 album 9 roped huge names into his non-Euclidean hijinks—whipping Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Ty Dolla $ign along an anti-gravity rollercoaster of greased-up synth stabs—2019’s PRINCESS CATGIRL is a more intimate affair, more in keeping with the downy avant-pop of his early work. As usual, the vocals are helium-filled, though mostly, as on the opening “FOR YOUR EYES ONLY”, the re-pitching yields childlike melancholy rather than dizzy glee. And while Francis and the Lights, Tory Lanez and other uncredited singers play behind-the-scenes roles, along with samples of Christina Aguilera and XXXTENTACION, the spotlight mostly falls on Princess Catgirl, a Vocaloid-like cartoon character whose bubbly voice serves as the project’s signature. It all adds up to a remarkable synthesis of happy and sad—of dewy, downcast melodies glistening atop giddily futuristic beats. For anyone who ever yearned for a better tomorrow while scribbling in a tear-stained diary, this fanciful sound will ring comfortingly true.