With the recent death of Teena Marie, Nikka Costa is poised to inherit the mantle of funkiest white girl around. After spending the past decade trying to break out with stellar but overlooked releases on Virgin and Stax, the former child star-turned-funk/soul songstress goes her own way with a new Gofunkyourself Records imprint.
This EP is the first in a series of releases and is all part of a DYI approach that includes her own YouTube channel (Nikka's Box). As has been the case on earlier albums like Everybody Got Their Something and Can'tneverdidnothin', this six-pack of songs finds Costa mixing in eclectic pop nuances amidst the bedrock of funk and soul influenced by the likes of Sly Stone, Betty Davis, and James Brown.
Opening cut "Head First" is a slinky and sexually-tinged gem goosed along by a breathy falsetto, reminiscent of friend and collaborator Prince. The chicken-scratch riffing, cash register samples and stream-of-consciousness lyrics on anti-consumerist track "Stuff" recall Odelay-era Beck.
Elsewhere, the defiant tone, crisp timekeeping, and Motown-flavored harmonies of "Never Wanna C U Again" make Costa America's answer to Amy Winehouse, while closing number "Chase the Thrill" comes off like a Portishead outtake thanks to the combination of ambient synth washes and yearning vocal phrasing. (Gofunkyourself)