June 17th, 2017 | Album reviews

MoFunk Records

The electric purple fingernails gracing the cover of Moniquea’s sophomore release from MoFunk records are enchantingly foreboding, as there is a purple sheen to Blackwavefunk that scintillates. Moniquea’s message to her audience is delivered immediately—the first track “Checkin’ Out” features nearly effect-free vocals setting the tone with, “Take me as I am or else I’m checkin’ out.” She does not suffer fools, made clear on tracks like “Check Your Sources” and “Famous”, and the genius production surrounding her is held to her standard accordingly. As Mo oscillates from punctuated urgency to sultry melisma to a Nenah Cherry-esque flow, she heats up every breakdown thrown her way by producers and label mates XL Middleton, Eddy Funkster and Turquoise Summers. She has distilled the finest elements of late ‘80s/early ‘90s where-R&B-meets-top-40-radio and crafted eight earworms that flirt with new wave flavors. She weaves through the phases of relationships lyrically, worrying about how a fresh crush is destined to break her heart, struggling to realign a relationship that has run out of steam, letting loose and letting her love come down. Blackwavefunk is distinctly Moniquea, yet infused with her knowledge and appreciation of godmothers Chaka, Whitney and Janet, making for fine-ass summer party music.

—Christina Gubala