Mallrat’s debut LP flutters like its Butterfly Blue moniker between the dark and the light, the sweet and the sour. Her vocals are as lustrous as a glacé cherry, but sit atop a jet-black sundae of reverb and feedback. The synths are summer sky, and the distorted guitars are the gravelly tarmac beneath. Even Mallrat’s aesthetics reflect this duality; the ‘bunny video’ for ‘Rockstar’ combines pastel-coloured rabbits, sparkles, and death metal style typography. The very name ‘Mallrat’ is incongruity – the shiny, clean, consumerism of shopping malls versus the ever-vilified rat.
The Azealia Banks feature, then, as sore-thumb-ish as it is, could be tentatively argued for as another contribution to the sweet/sour intentions of Butterfly Blue. Banks’ jarring verse in ‘Surprise Me’ does work to emphasise Mallrat’s seemingly unflappable cool on all the rest of the album. A feature from one of the most widely lambasted rappers around is certainly a controversial decision, especially on a first album. Though, it can’t be argued that it doesn’t draw attention; it’s commanded a whole paragraph here.
There are, admittedly, small moments in which Butterfly Blue’s wingbeat falters. The two-word chorus of ‘Your Love’ (those two words, unsurprisingly, being ‘your’ and ‘love’) grates a little by the end, and occasionally the otherwise powerfully uncomplicated lyrics lean into emptiness. Overall, though, the butterfly is resolute; Mallrat has created an album unified both by its tight production and by its consistent polarities. There is no chrysalis-hesitation on this debut.