Tirzah’s third album—produced, like all her records, by Mica Levi—displays an unusual degree of focus. The entire LP was made using little more than a single watery acoustic piano and rough, distorted drum machine. Not just one drum machine—the very same percussive pattern reappears on track after track, thrashing like a feral beast. The UK singer has described trip9love…??? as a fantasy of club music, yet these are largely solitary songs, not communal ones. In hushed tones, Tirzah ruminates on love and loneliness, two feelings connected by the slimmest thread. More often than not, her songwriting returns to a place of hurt: The opening “F22” may sing of love’s boundless potential, but with “Promises,” the same sounds are spun into a meditation on deception and disappointment, themes that bleed into the even bleaker “u all the time.” Even a song as beautiful as “their love” turns out to harbor a deeply wounded core that makes happy endings look like the stuff of myths. trip9love…??? can be a devastating listen, but Tirzah’s voice and songwriting are so compelling that they make even the most claustrophobic emotions feel like a welcoming embrace.

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