The mysterious R&B act's merging of Drake's melancholia with distorted indie samples makes us want to find out more
The Weeknd (that's not a spelling mistake) may well be the alias of Abel Tesfaye (vocals) and Jeremy Rose (production), a mysterious new Toronto-born R&B act who have just signed to Drake's label. Little is known about Tesfaye in terms of where he's come from, what he likes or indeed what he really looks like ? his face is usually obscured in press shots ? and no one's really sure exactly who does what or with whom. What we do know, however, is that their new mixtape, House of Balloons, is highly listenable, each of its nine tracks attempting to push and pull R&B into slightly distorted shapes. There are nods to Drake in terms of the seeping melancholia on most of the tracks, while the chilly minimalism and sparse, crisp beats bring to mind acts such as How to Dress Well or The-Dream. Two tracks (The Party & the After Party and Loft Music) also feature distorted samples of songs by Beach House, while the title track interpolates Happy House by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Above is the album's opener, High For This, which rumbles moodily, the beat muffled below Tesfaye's honeyed vocals.
House of Balloons can be downloaded for free from here .