Published Nov 04, 2019Bea Kristi loves the '90s. She's said as much in interviews, and embodies the decade's gives-no-fucks slacker aesthetic in a way that's less borrowed nostalgia than way of being. So perhaps it was only a matter of time that she'd namecheck King Slackness himself as she does on her infectious breakout single, "I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus."
For many, that song, one of the many highlights on her all-too-brief new EP, Space Cadet, was their introduction to Kristi's work as Beabadoobee, a ridiculous name that belies the low-stakes at play when she launched her "career" two years ago.
In fact, as recently as early this year, Beabadoobee was little more than a high school bedroom pop project, defined more by Kristi's guitar playing and hushed melodies than pop culture reverence. EPs like Loveworm and Patched Up spun teenage ennui into perfect lo-fi pop ditties that feel joyously out of pace with the current, mostly guitar-less pop landscape.
Space Cadet comes loaded with expectations though. It's deservedly being released on Dirty Hit, home to fellow UK sensations like the 1975 and Pale Waves. The association was certain to bring new eyeballs, as well as the kind of sexist "let's see what she can do" attitude young female artists are still subjected to.
Kristi, however, isn't fucking around. She meets the spotlight head-on, beefing up the project's sound and yes, name-checking Pavement and their singer. That song, essentially an ode to her newly dyed coif, borrows its namesake's loose sound and nonchalant delivery. But the alchemy it takes to make that sort of mix actually work is a testament Kristi's skills as a songwriter. The vibe carries over to songs like the effervescent "She Plays Bass" and the title track, as Kristi tightens up her arrangements while creating evocative scenes out of the most innocuous of subjects, building songs that bloom into big, beautiful choruses.
Kristi is only 19, and just graduated high school; she's a self-professed indoor kid who spends a lot of time going to the movies with her boyfriend. That she was able to spin emotional stakes out of such basic subject matter as her bass-playing bestie and love for '90s alt-rock, coupled with the sheer speed of her progression as a songwriter, suggests big things to come. (Dirty Hit)