Review: Kadhja Bonet digs into matriarchal power on the grand Childqueen
Kadhja Bonet’s remarkable ability to approach and expose her animus had already been properly showcased in her debut LP The Visitor, released a couple of years ago. The arrival of Childqueen, however, demonstrates how we are now confronted with a whole new set of powerful Amazonian sensibilities that seem foreign and familiar at the same time: they reignite an area of our collective unconscious we thought was fast asleep, making us drink of this strange water that instantly restores our forces and propels us to battle.
This is a cosmopolitan voyage throughout markedly different places and eras, humbling touching a variety of more or less exotic influences without merely appropriating them — showcasing their uncanniest beauty with the highest respect instead. The somehow constant psych-jazz undertone allows for a multitude of infinitely chromatic sounds to inebriate you like a powerful drug that is yet to be properly classified. As the stimuli consecutively pile up to form the superhuman pyramid that is Childqueen, the corner of the eye simultaneously detects Tropicália (and more specifically early Gal and Nara Leão), R&B, chanson, acid disco, lundu, and many other heaven-meets-hell sonorities whose intricate mélange makes one blindly believe in witchcraft.
While ‘Delphine’ insidiously penetrates our body and soul at once as hypnotically as a cat’s insistent purr, tracks like ‘Procession’ or ‘Nostalgia’ purify the airwaves like a sacred and eternal waterfall — a tiger licks its majestic fur inside a golden cage, blinking lazily as it gazes into our eyes hoping to find a reflexion of its semi-god identity. A tribal worshipping ritual transpires through Bonet’s vocalisations in ‘Joy’, and we enter yet another dimension of the voluntary trance. But it’s ‘Mother Maybe’, the instantly addictive single with a sweetness reminiscent of Minnie Ripperton, that effortlessly transposes the album to a much more universal plane as it patiently reminds us of its melodic geniality.
The future is female, the power is matriarchal, and this is our sanctified book of hymns, put together through centuries of stubborn resistance and perpetual beatitude. Our great-great-grandmothers’ voices resonate throughout Childqueen as vividly as our unborn children in a never-ending autophagic cycle, reminding us that we are all pure, beautiful and sacred, and that no dominating power is de facto dominating if not exerted with unconditional love.
Childqueen indeed. May your reign be long and prosper.
originally published on The 405 on June 11th 2018