“Too Many People” is agoraphobia wrapped in gauzy saccharine synthpop. Like a wrathful spirit in vintage gingham, Princess Chelsea coos seething takedowns of cluelessly self-aggrandizing people who “think they’re right” and “think they’re great” and “talk about themselves” too much, all disarmingly wrapped in a polished performance of demure twee dreampop.
Princess Chelsea, the alias of Auckland based musician Chelsea Nikkel, has been making sharply self-aware pop music for years both as part of twee band The Brunettes and as a solo artist, having released her first solo album Lil’ Golden Book in 2011. Many of her tracks are accompanied by highly imaginative concept videos which play with image, performance, and internet-wave anxiety. (Most notable might be the identity-surfing “Caution Repetitive” in which Chelsea, part YouTube celeb part MyIdol Barbie, tries on different outfits-as-personal brands, cycling through consumable aesthetics such as “Amelie (Free Spirited),” “Elegant Steampunk,” “Stoner (twee),” and “Black Metal Zooey D.”)
Chelsea’s latest project is a fantasy sci-fi album called The Great Cybernetic Depression, which transforms her personal experience of depression into an elaborate apocalyptic dystopia. It’s billed as “retro-futuristic’ but it sounds like the most contemporary thing there is.
The Great Cybernetic Depression is due for a US & UK release on June 8 via Flying Nun / Lil’ Chief.