Chloe Moriondo – ‘Suckerpunch’ review: the gloves are off, but the hits keep coming
Like fellow bedroom popstars mxmtoon, Cavetown and Girl In Red, Chloe Moriondo first made her name with their emotionally raw guitar songs. 2018’s ‘Rabbit Hearted’ was delicate and twee, while her 2021 “big kid album” ‘Blood Bunny’ blended coming-of-age angst with dreamy pop-rock. Moriondo’s new album ‘Suckerpunch’, though, is designed to be a “slap in the fucking face” and something “you never saw coming”.
They land the first blow almost instantly. “I’m a bad bitch, I’m a stone-cold killer,” Moriondo announces on the opening track ‘Popstar’. Taking influence from Kesha’s riotous breakout track ‘Tik Tok’ and the sleek cool of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’, ‘Popstar’ couldn’t be more obvious about Moriondo’s current ambitions, which see her trade the bedroom studio for a late-night rave. Following track ‘Fruity’ is a glittering, party-starting anthem driven by euphoria and an unwavering sense of self, while ‘Cdbaby<3’ is an urgent, glitching electronic track made for hectic clubs.
“I was incredibly angry when I wrote some of these songs, and felt so sick of being perceived as a soft person,” Moriondo has said about ‘Suckerpunch’, and the gloves are very much off here. Fearlessly combining jagged, experimental pop with a snarling attitude, Moriondo, as she explains on the Barbie-referencing emo theatrics of ‘Dress Up’, doesn’t “want to be polite”.
“Fuck you!” aptly starts the warped rave of ‘Trophy’ before channelling Ashnikko’s venomous defiance through a furious two minutes of self-love, while ‘Knockout’ is a sugary anthem that sees Moriondo ready for a scrap. “Used to be a punching bag, but now I’m winning Stateside,” they sing, full of a newfound confidence. Then there’s ‘Plastic Purse’, a swaggering track that mixes elements of hip-hop, alt-rock and shiny pop as Moriondo vents her anger “about stupid indie boys who take advantage of girls”. It’s explosive, powerful stuff.
Despite turning the amps up to 11 and approaching the album with reckless abandon, ‘Suckerpunch’ never loses the sense of vulnerability that made Moriondo such a relatable star in the first place. The PC Music-indebted ‘Hearteyes’ is an auto-tuned stream of consciousness about falling head over heels in love that isn’t ashamed of jealousy or making grand declarations, before the sprawling ‘Diet Heartbreak’ wrestles with self-doubt and loneliness in the shadow of self-empowerment.
‘Suckerpunch’ is a bold sonic adventure that thrives on excess. Throughout the record’s constantly shifting 13 tracks, Moriondo proves that she’s an artist that can do it all, all while having an absolute ball. Underestimate them at your peril.
Release date: October 7
Record label: Elektra Records / Fueled By Ramen
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