Purveyor of unusual dance-pop Sophia Kennedy has made a very welcome return today with a song called “Orange Tic Tac”, potentially the first glimpse of a follow-up to her cult favourite 2017 self-titled album. In her typically idiosyncratic style, the inspiration for the track came from a thought cycle spurred by the titular candy. She explains:

“Tic Tac Orange is an American product, and I’m not sure if it was made for children or adults. ‘Does it pass for a sweet candy or is it a kind of dragée for stressed out grown-ups to suck on while having a bad day?’ I thought as I stood in line at a shop in Montreux. Suddenly, it felt like a path worth exploring, so I thought about writing a song called ‘Orange Tic Tac’, and it took on quite a heavy meaning. I felt the urge to write a song with comic-like exaggerations of different characters and all their perspectives.

The above quote is a compelling primer, and “Orange Tic Tac” does not disappoint in its schizophrenic and engrossing display of Kennedy’s artistry. Beginning with a prowling and growling flow over a bruised beat, she picks out images of “apocalyptic white lights” and “schizophrenic timelines” among many others. And then “Orange Tic Tac” flips into a wide-armed classic pop sound – not that the atmospheric beat changes, but some splashes of piano drop in and Kennedy switches to her grandiose singing voice let in some sunshine. She sings of unusually happy things – “like a ghost in a suit on the avenue, I’m floating down town” – and then the track seamlessly flips back again into the grittier side. Words alone cannot do justice to this masterful turn.

You can listen to “Orange Tic Tac” on streaming platforms, but we would recommend the video, starring Kennedy embodying these two sides of herself, and the dramatic switch between characters is even more pronounced. On the clip she says:

The video was made more or less spontaneously, because the film shooting was actually about something else. We did it in one take, maybe 3 times in a row. I hate things that take longer than 15 minutes. That’s why the simplicity of the idea suited me – to perform the song in this way I had thought up the night before and it seemed like a simple but good trick to present the song appropriately.”

“Orange Tic Tac” is Sophia Kennedy’s first on City Slang, and that hopefully means there’s something more to come soon. For now you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.