Daine’s mixtape is a transcendent hyper-pop fever dream with a beating heart underneath its glistening surface. “Shapeless” opens the record with a heady mix of club synths and 3 a.m. basslines. Throughout, the autotuned vocals climb higher and higher until euphoria. It’s the kind of party you don’t want to leave.
“Doom” shows daine’s knack for a big hook, almost immediately ripping into a major chorus. Hushed, intricate production keeps the verses on lock — balancing darkness and light for a winning combination.
“Portal” is a neck-cranking melange of drum’n’bass and angular, Midwest emo-inspired guitar lines. It’s a peculiar mix, but it somehow manages to work. In a post-genre world, her mercurial approach to sound feels of the moment and authentic.
Meanwhile, “Stay Close” finds us floating above the clouds with echoes of R&B. “Skin Deep” pulses with pure pop goodness bolstered through its impactful lyrics. Amongst the bombast of hyper-pop production, it can be easy for emotional resonance to become lost in the noise. But daine manages to bring depth to each track, finding moments of brevity to ascend — whether it’s an impeccable bridge, or stripped back breakdown.
These are the moments where her artistry shines most intently and the mixtape feels exciting — as if the listener is in the studio with her, diving deeper and deeper into the world daine has so intricately crafted.
A snappy, irresistible blend of hyper-pop and club culture for the internet age, daine proves just how vital this genre can be. Transforming a web of emotions, moods and unforgettable choruses into something uniquely her own, the mixtape is an undoubted sign of major things to come.
Stream: daine, shapeless
This review features in the March 2023 issue of Rolling Stone AU/NZ. If you’re eager to get your hands on it, then now is the time to sign up for a subscription.
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