Stella & Steve - EP

Stella & Steve - EP

Auckland’s Stella “BENEE” Bennett released her first two EPs before hitting age 20, so it’s no surprise she oozes confidence on these five songs, starting with the slow and easy bounce of the catchy opener “Find an Island.” Beyond colorful touches like the affectionate nod to Arabic music’s double harmonic scales on “Monsta,” these tracks’ grooves are spiked with emotional resonance that draws equally from Bennett’s vulnerable singing and scathing lyrics. “I know I fucked up/I’m just a loser,” she breezily intones on “Supalonely” against a sticky beat, a couched disco vibe, and a suave guest verse from New York singer Gus Dapperton. It’s the sort of self-aware DIY pop that recalls Tones and I as much as it does The Cardigans.

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