Hailing from South London, Jess Belgrave and Vlad Woodham-Smith are the multi-talented duo Temptress, who have racked up a couple of million streams since 2016. Hurrying on the heels of previous offering Secret, their latest release Naked drops this week; a self-produced composition which melds Temptress’ trademark contemporary R&B grooves with brooding honeyed-vocals.
Vlad picks up the story of the track’s inspirations: “We were working in the studio with no air con during a London heatwave, and it all became too much. Jess ran over to the piano and started singing ‘I just wanna be naked all the time!’ From there the rest of the song came easily which was good because we really wanted to go outside and cool down!”
“Slow-building from dabs of sparse electronic instrumentation, like droplets of sweat forming on a sticky summer’s evening, Naked takes on a deliberately stripped-back and unashamedly sexual form.”
Slow-building from dabs of sparse electronic instrumentation, like droplets of sweat forming on a sticky summer’s evening, Naked takes on a deliberately stripped-back and unashamedly sexual form as it writhes across three minutes of glossy R&B-pop. The sensuality of the refrain is definitive; there is no doubting the carnal directness of the lyric, although tempered by the undercurrents of honesty and vulnerability that come with Naked’s unapologetic subject matter.
Jess and Vlad share alternate vocal duties throughout the song, although it is when the two come together that the shivers ratchet up a notch, with Jess’ pure soprano flourishes an a particularly effortless delight. Naked feels born of its origins, although not introspectively South London; an electronic beats-and-bass anthem destined for wider appreciation.
In an indisputably cooler and wetter June, if this song doesn’t make you nostalgic for the glory of last summer then nothing will.