Music

Chrissi’s ‘Back In The Day’ is a mini-masterpiece of alt-RnB

Chrissi has emerged with a fresh take on RnB that’s wholly her own. It’s intimate and vulnerable, yet grounded in a way that speaks to the artist’s power.

Emerging out of the UK scene, Chrissi has delivered a remarkably assured debut EP, Back In The Day. It references classic RnB sounds, with the swirls of Hammond organ and strings looming large.

But its central personality — the voice and stories of Chrissi herself — evoke an unexpected atmosphere of casual intimacy and directness; a form of stylised lyricism that’s refreshing and utterly unique to this artist.

Chrissi

You’re welcomed into the world of Chrissi with the EP’s title track. It’s emblematic of her approach: a single voice with a laidback delivery, amid blooms of organ, lashings of analog synth, and a small string section. It’s eventually underpinned with a tight drum groove courtesy of producers BERWYN, Detonate, and Muvva.

And if it wasn’t for that beat framing the structure of the bars, you could get carried off the grid by the rest of the track’s floating elements. The harmony defines simplicity, but with the careful layering, and the slight tonal changes that are introduced to the vocal throughout — especially the lo-fi, reverberant coda — it’s always gently evolving.

The playful treatment of ambience continues with Tracksuit, the beginning of which sounds like it was recorded on Voice Memos. It then slips into a slinky groove of gritty drums and plucked guitar, with the highlight arriving in the form of layered harmonies in the chorus that respond to Chrissi’s vocal phrases.

Lady Kisses reintroduces the gospel-inspired tones of the Hammond, but again — as with everything on this EP — it comes with a tasty twist (this time with production by Detonate and MckNasty). The retro-swells are warped and sliced, before falling into a crunchy, vinyl-soaked beat and bass groove. It’s the perfectly sly soundtrack to Chrissi’s cautionary romantic tale.

On the EP’s closer, Stupid Little Girl, things take a turn for the dramatic. Surrounding the booming piano chords, there’s nothing much but a lot of space, enticing you to lean in further to track the song’s story.

It’s on this track that Chrissi unleashes her full narrative power when she laments, “People said that you’ve been holding me hostage, but baby it felt good to be held.” And when Chrissi literally breaks down under the weight of the song’s message, it’s a genuinely arresting moment.

For a four-track EP, Back In The Day is quite a journey. Revolving around relationships — tension, ambivalence, lies, and the possibility of genuine connection — its themes are universal and familiar. What transcends the tropes, however, is its rawness, endlessly fascinating production, and the idiosyncrasies of Chrissi herself.

Chrissi’s Back In The Day is out now via Virgin. Check it out below: