45s of the week: Griff, Abby Roberts, Aby Coulibaly and more!

The tracks you need to hear this week, reviewed by Rhian Daly.


Abby Roberts – ‘Volatile’ 

Abby Roberts might explain the backstory behind ‘Volatile’ as “about getting this pent-up anger and frustration that was caused by the reckless behaviour an ex-friend off of my chest”, but the track doesn’t go for the obvious route of screaming that pain out. Instead, the Leeds solo star delivers her message in bewitchingly soft vocals set to crushed velvet guitars, instantly proving you don’t have to be loud to make your point felt – and felt deeply. 

Lolo Zouaï – ‘Ice Cube’ 

“You unfroze my heart / Thought that I could never love / Ice cube melts and here we are,” American-French-Algerian artist Lolo Zouaï tells a lover on ‘Ice Cube’, one of the standout tracks from her new EP, ‘Crying In The Carwash’. Sonically, the track takes its cues from her words, its glacial melody and plucked strings slowly dripping across the song like its entering its own liquid state. 

Griff – ‘Astronaut’ 

You said that you needed space / Go on then, astronaut,” Griff scoffs at a partner on her new, Chris Martin-assisted single. It’s a moment of wicked humour that breaks up the weight of the emotions on ‘Astronaut’ but makes no attempt to run away from them, unlike the person she’s singing of. A devastatingly beautiful ode to the dissolution of a relationship. 


NMIXX – ‘Soñar (Breaker)’ 

K-pop girl group NMIXX have never shied away from experimentalism but, sometimes, their attempts at it have been a little messy. Not on ‘Soñar (Breaker)’, which finds them gleefully racing through an ever-evolving track, from sultry bassy chorus to twinkling Y2K R&B verse and back again. That they signpost each shift with giddy chants of “change up!” and their band name only adds to the infectious energy. 

Aby Coulibaly – ‘Big Pharma (Withdrawal)’ 

Rising R&B star Aby Coulibaly gets incredibly vulnerable on her gentle new single ‘Big Pharma (Withdrawal)’, a tender acoustic track about living with topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). “I don’t want your medication in the simulation,” she sighs. “I am dedicated but sometimes / I slip off the track and take some.” It’s an open, honest account of the condition and a gorgeous testament to Coulibaly’s talents. 

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