Nilüfer Yanya: PAINLESS (ATO) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, March 31st, 2023  

Nilüfer Yanya



Mar 04, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s been three years since her debut album‌ Miss Universe, a brilliantly realized concept album that wowed the critics and London singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya’s follow up album is every bit as good as she returns with her stunning musically diverse second album, PAINLESS.

She once again traverses a variety of genres, mixing soulful smoky vocals with art rock, trip-hop, and pop. On occasion, Yanya effortlessly inhabits that indie, soul-jazz hinterland once occupied by Everything But the Girl, at other times, there are moments that would give Radiohead a run for their money. PAINLESS is a body of work that sees Yanya opening up about her feelings in a much more direct way than on her debut. There is no obfuscation, no cloaking of emotion behind concepts, this time she confronts her feelings head-on.

There’s a sense of purpose to PAINLESS as Yanya’s voice mesmerizes amongst a beautiful collage of meticulously constructed melodies. It’s an album full of intricate twists and turns. Just when you think you have its measure, it breaks off and flows in a different direction. In less skilled hands, this type of album could initially wash over the listener, instead, it’s an album that constantly delights and surprises, and one that is full of artful, intricate musical arrangements and melancholy beauty.

At times, you’ll be soothed by the laid back, graceful beauty of tracks such as “anotherlife” the next minute you’ll find yourself swept up in the majestic guitar rush of “stabilise.” “Midnight sun” steps into Radiohead territory, one of a number of hypnotic pinnacles that shimmers with dark elegance before detonating a battery of scuzzy riffs.

“Trouble” is exceptional, as Yanya’s lachrymose vocal conveys genuine emotion and the gorgeous “shameless” sees her embracing her vulnerability to find a kind of morose beauty amidst heartbreak.

Throughout PAINLESS Yanya wrenches emotion and dark drama from an intentionally minimal set-up. There are no invasive production tricks, with each song being given the space to breathe, to slowly unfurl and expand. It’s the sheer power of her songwriting and her intricate arrangements that leave you dazzled and in no doubt that Yanya is a songwriter and musician of immense talent for whom the sky’s the limit. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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