Editors' pick

Nikka Costa

Funk/soul
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Editorial Review

NIKKA COSTA
Album review: "Pro *Whoa"

Nikka Costa may be the daughter of famed producer Don Costa and the goddaughter of Frank Sinatra, but she’s nobody’s imitator.

Any doubters need only listen to Costa’s new EP, “Pro *Whoa,” which packs a bounty of soul, funk, rock and rap into its tracks, many of which are made for the dance floor.

The first 30 seconds of opening track “Head First” — throbbing strings punctuated by aggressive percussion — let you know you’re in for a cool ride. Add Costa’s aggressively breathy vocals and the sound would do fabled Stax Records’ artists proud.

But Costa is no one-genre wonder. Move to “Never Wanna C U Again,” and you’ll be walloped with an array of drum machines and electronica as Costa uses Donna Summers-like vocals to tell the story of heartbreak.

Want something more urban? Switch to the title track, which is equally awash in powerful percussion and electronica, but is really just the garnish for Costa’s Rihanna meets Pink vocals.

The standout track might well be “Stuff.” It’s richly textured urban pop, with an ample dose of synthesizers and sound effects that channel such ’80s new wave bands as Flock of Seagulls.

— Nancy Dunham, July 15, 2011