Debby Friday kicks off the title track that opens her debut album, Good Luck (Sub Pop), with a fiery declaration: “Get it while it’s hot!” The Nigerian-born, Toronto-based artist sounds commanding atop the song’s lurching electro-industrial beats, but even as she confidently seizes our attention, there’s a sense that she’s tormented too. When she exclaims “Don’t you fuck it up,” its as if she’s singing it to herself, and the following track, “So Hard to Tell,” suggests the same: Friday’s knowing vocals cascade through the swirling atmospherics of its dreamy R&B as she reflects on a younger, more naive self who’s going through the wringer. Then all at once, we’re thrown into the highs and lows of her tumultuous journey of self-discovery: on the acerbic, imposing house track “I Got It” she announces her “red blood libido,” while “Hot Love” tosses us in a noisy cyclone suffused with desire and disappointment.
On Friday’s previous EPs, 2018’s Bitchpunk and 2019’s Death Drive, she reveled in messy synth-punk exuberance. That energy is amped up on Good Luck. “Wake Up” is a frenetic, scatterbrained instrumental where soaring vocals and electric pulses create an ecstatic gothic reverie. She’s more chameleonic than ever too: on “Pluto Baby” she employs twisted beats that recall Peruvian producer Arca, while on “What a Man” she channels the glam-rock theatrics of Yves Tumor, searing guitar solo and all. Friday compounds her stylistic turns with varied vocal deliveries. She’s flirtatious on “Heartbreakerrr,” a bouncy synth-pop track that bobs around like someone happily dancing after too many drinks. But she’s brooding and moody on “Safe,” where she confesses to breaking down over an old lover whose memory she can’t shake. Packed into a succinct, live-wire 33 minutes, Good Luck is testament to how effectively Friday can capture life in all its dense, unpredictable emotions.
Debby Friday Godly the Ruler and Beloved (DJ set) open. Thu 4/20, 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, $15, 21+