Pursuit Grooves: Lift EP
What Rules Recordings

Pursuit Grooves' latest EP should do nothing but enhance the reputation Toronto, Ontario-based Vanese Smith has built up via full-lengths such as Frantically Hopeful (Tectonic Recordings, 2011) and Broadcasting A Sensory Sequence (What Rules, 2013). Though modest in length at thirteen minutes, Lift 's four cuts are stylistically consistent with Smith's own description of her sound: “Electronic Travels through Soul, Bass, House, and Hip-Hop.”

Suggesting that the release will be anything but a set of cut-throat club bangers, “Slow Drag” opens Lift with a languorous melange of kick drums, claps, and hi-hats, all of it sprinkled with Smith's soulful musings. Uptempo by comparison, “Get It” rolls out a spirited beat swagger whose funky swing is beefed up with thick synth chords and trippy swirls. Heavy on Smith's multi-tracked vocalizing, the brooding rumination “Bigger Than We” signals a left-turn into soulful balladry, albeit one refracted through the Pursuit Grooves prism. All of the elements associated with the project's sound—claps, bleepy synth stabs and melodies, jittery beats, and vocals—re-appear in “Dedicated” to bring the concise set to a close. The EP not only makes a strong case for Smith as a producer, songwriter, and singer but suggests that her profile deserves to be much larger than it currently is.

December 2014