At the beginning of 2016 (and her self-proclaimed "Red Era"), however, Richard pivoted, moving from a staunchly independent, self-released model to London label Local Action and working with well-known dance producers. First we got "Not Above That," a storming single made with Machinedrum, and now we have Infrared, an EP of Kingdom collaborations for Fade To Mind. More than just a clever singer-production pair, Infrared is Richard's most striking and intimate music yet.
Infrared is naked both musically and lyrically. Kingdom's beats are unusually spare, almost rudimentary. The effect is most impressive on "How I Get It," a hip-hop-style brag that feels like last year's "Blow" stripped to the bone, all clean snaps and an incredible four-note bassline that undergirds the chorus. On "Honest" and "Paint It Blue," Richard gets personal over equally guarded beats, like club-ready confessionals. Drum breaks well up in the peripheries of "Honest," a story of a love-hate affair. "Paint It Blue" is among Richard's most beautiful tracks, with long, flowing melodic lines and magnificent self-harmonizing.
The EP wraps up with "Baptize," which brings biblical imagery into the equation. The drum breaks return but now they sound celebratory as Richard sings, "So please, be forgiven / Let me baptize you." It ends her four-track saga, one that shows she doesn't need to embellish her songwriting with production wizardry and experimental beats.