EP Review: Coupdekat – Imaginary Girls

Coupdekat, real name Katherine Reilly, is a British hyperpop artist who burst onto my radar late last year through her tale of a disappointing, long distance romance Lost In Translation. The track features alongside seven others on her debut EP Imaginary Girls. Here’s my track by track review.

By Graeme Smith

Coupdekat is one of the emerging voices of Gen Z, providing a frank narrative on how the younger generation are navigating life with ever-present mobile phones and internet connection, and how that makes real-life and life online blur. Katherine approaches the topics thoughtfully and eloquently in her lyrics, without losing a sense of fun and humour, and that’s what first drew me to her music when I heard Lost In Translation.

The EP’s opening track Love Online takes place in a very similar universe. It has a soulful, retro vibe to it, telling the story of bittersweet love that’s confined to hyperspace. There is a sense of disconnection about it. Katherine’s vocals are lofty, with a sense of disinterest, and the desire for a real human relationship comes through. A hooky chorus will stay with you.

Colours provides a 30-second blast of ambient sound before we launch into the aforementioned Lost In Translation. It leans more heavily into the hyperpop side of Coupdekat’s sound, with vocal effects, saturated electronic instrumentals and an urgent tempo. Lyrically, it’s clever, and takes subjects like Brexit and reliance on Google Translate in its confident stride.

My Complete Reinvention is a bright, poppy affair, with mingling instrumentals that invoke both a nightclub and a Tiki bar all at once. Lyrically it speaks of superficiality and a desire for popularity online, and how it gets the best of all of us.

Nepobaby is an acoustic surprise. Katherine puts the electronic layers aside for a moment in order to let her beautifully expressive vocals speak. She sings of how nepotism brings fame, and freezes everyone else out. It’s a gentle track with a killer edge. It’s a real highlight.

Track six is CUT IT OFF!!!, a story of the difficulty that comes with ending a relationship, even a toxic one. The lyrics feel like a constant stream of advice, all sensible on their own but overwhelming when all put together. Yet it’s overriding vibe is a positive one, and there’s a sense of catharsis too.

Notesonmyphonecore is another short interlude. A robotic voice reads a list of random phrases, delivered against a backdrop of light drum and bass. It leads nicely into EP closer F.Y.E.O. Katherine’s final reflection on life online, this time she speaks of how women are punished for their sexual desires, and the perils of sending nudes. The message is tempered with a bright melody and an earworm chorus. It’s a great way to say goodbye to the world of Coupdekat for now.

Imaginary Girls is a really exciting record and I’m not the only one who thinks so. She’s getting praise from Grammy award-winning producers, big name acts and the blogosphere. Expect to see her name everywhere in the next few years. You can check out the whole EP below.