Too Many People by Princess Chelsea (Single)
Auckland’s synth-addled, indie-pop songwriter Princess Chelsea shows on ‘Too Many People’ that there’s more to her genre than just melody
pening with a delicious synth-pop melody, candyfloss vocals that have had the sugar drained right out of them and a title of Too Many People, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Chelsea Nikkel AKA Princess Chelsea’s new single is a preening new romantic dirge. That, though, would be a mistake.
The dry ice-washed video – one to rival cult early 00s horror-comedy series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace for jocular 80s naffness – is the first clue. It’s both her lyrics and their delivery, though, that truly hammer home Princess Chelsea’s tongue-barely-in-cheek nihilism. Lines such as “they bitch and they moan, tell anyone that’s home, about their fucking shit. And it works just as long as we all play along and pretend that we care about it,” might reek of acrid humour, but you get the impression that humanity went past Princess Chelsea’s point of tolerance long ago. With the music sticking rigidly to the Au Revoir Simone and Frankie Rose blueprint mapped from its outset, Too Many People also has the sort of eerie majesty that could have given it a place on The X-Files soundtrack.
With new album The Great Cybernetic Depression – Princess Chelsea’s first since her 2011 debut Lil’ Golden Book – due out in less than a week (8 June) Too Many People is a perfect primer. For fans it shows that Nikkel’s lost none of her searing pop charm, while for newcomers it’s evidence that indie-pop isn’t all broken umbrellas and moth-eaten cardigans – there’s choking humour to be had too.
Verdict: Indie-pop with claws