Sumner’s last album, 2010’s The Constant, was critically panned; in the interim, he has shed her initial moniker (I Blame Coco), supported the likes of Lykke Li, and done some heavy revising of her sound. Her sophomore album Information comes as a stunning maturation of her music, a collection of bold, genre-bending tunes, with Sumner glitching, humming and grinding her way to a truly powerful record.
Sumner’s voice is mesmerising, and at many points incredibly reminiscent of her father (Sting, of The Police). More than simply husky, the vocals provide a kind of delicious vulnerability, her dark minimalism acting as a perfect companion to the album’s instrumentation. And although the album is definitely, indisputably dark, it’s still energetic. The alien rhythm of Species gives way to a full-fledged dance beat; standout single Halfway to Hell is a powerful force of nature which sees glam rock infused with glitching synths and sprawling feedback. Sumner is almost gothic in her approach to songwriting, which leads to some very creative exploration of genres. Listen closely to the echoing percussion of opener Dead Arms and Dead Legs, or synth-laden following track Information, and you can catch influences as diverse as New Order, The Killers or even O Children.
Information is, in other words, a gift. A six-year interim has allowed Sumner to truly hone her skills as a composer, which is all too evident in the execution and production of the album. As a whole, the album is nuanced; individually, the songs are flawlessly written, dark explorations of 80s genres. Sumner provides her own lush take on moody electronic rock, and rather than feeling pretentious, these songs are genuine, and masterfully executed.