Hesta Prynn’s first solo EP is being toted as “electro-hip-hop-art-rock”, but truthfully, if you weren’t aware of her frat-rap days as one-third of Beastie Boys protégées Northern State, you’d detect only the faintest lick of anything approaching hip hop in this sextet of songs. The cool, spoken-word couplets of lead track ‘You Winding Me Up’ are pure electro-trend monotone, and from thereon in it’s sung melodies all the way, delivered in a sweet, sometimes deadpan manner that communicates a hipster-cred but without the excessive pretension. Together with producer/live guitarist Chuck Brody, Prynn rather neatly mixes synth electro with live-sounding instrumentation. Big, classic cut basslines stripe across these songs, creating rather formal pop structures with clean snare and bass drums and choppy, Franz Ferdinand-style tin-crunch guitar meeting Fruity Loops disco-clap beats and synth samples in a dance-happy melee.
Indeed, a small orbit of party-friendly styles are collaged together throughout; witness the ’60s dream-disco chimes on ‘Le Coq Aux Folles’ and the well-dressed NY club rhythms of the title track, perfect for those Ray-Ban and Nylon TV ads. A few clues point towards Prynn’s sound being hooked on the output of genre-mashing leviathans MIA and Santigold – there are certainly bites of the latter on the skank-lite intersections of ‘Recall’ and the reverbed surf-guitar vibe of ‘Motive’ – but as a whole this EP shimmies far closer to the likes of New Young Pony Club and Dead Disco rather than the soundclash dance and dub of those two progenitors. As such, the lasting impression of Can We Go Wrong is of a fun, if rather safe, first step towards solo stardom that should at least whet some appetites for Prynn’s upcoming full-length.
[Hey Buddy/For Fire; July 6, 2010]