Part of a four-album drop released virtually simultaneously in late 2021, KICK ii showcases Arca at her fiercest. Each album in the series has its own distinct flavor, and KICK ii focuses largely on reggaetón. Picking up the thread from KiCk i cuts like “Mequetrefe” and “KLK,” early-album highlights “Prada,” “Rakata,” and “Tiro” swing and snap with taut elastic energy, brittle dembow drums bobbing in empty space. Coproduced with Venezuelan-born DJ Cardopusher (Boys Noize also contributed to “Tiro”), the three songs are smeared with glassy trance synths that play up Arca’s own chopped-and-twisted vocal processing. Not everything is so upfront, though: “Luna Llena” and “Lethargy” dip into softer, more shadowy hues, while Arca’s experimental instincts come to the fore on “Araña,” “Femme,” and “Muñecas,” where synths and manipulated vocals seem to dissolve into oily, iridescent pools. Ultimately, she saves her biggest surprise for near the end: “Born Yesterday” pairs soaring vocals from Sia with a glitchy electronic ballad that shifts into a four-on-the-floor stormer before crumbling to dust once again, rolling up triumph and tragedy into one blazing fireball of an anthem.

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