This is the debut album by Laura Mvula, which I bought a few months ago, and months later I still like it enough to want to write about it.
I heard one song from the album one evening on the radio, and I thought it was very interesting, then read something about her on the BBC news page ( she is one of the sounds of 2013 it seems), and decided to seek her out on Spotify. From a listen there, it was a quick purchase!
It’s a really varied album, from laid back to bouncy, but what I really enjoy is the variety of really beautiful instrumentation – there’s a lot of xylophone (which you don’t get much outside of kids alphabet books). Green Garden is probably the catchiest song, and the obvious introduction. If you like this, you might enjoy the rest of it.
But I have to admit, it’s not my favourite song – I love That’s Alright, which reminds me of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk because of it’s heavy use of drums and brass (especially trombones), but I also really like the message of “Who made you the centre of the universe?” in the chorus. You know, now that I listen to the two of them together, there is a lot that separates them, but they do have something in common (the brass doesn’t start until nearly 2 minutes into Tusk, by the way, and it does get louder towards the end). Flying Without You has a similar sound to it – trombones, xylophone and drums, and again a positive message about independence with a great opening lyric – “He was a boy in love, just not with me…”.
But away from the bouncy feelgood stuff, there’s also depth – She, again has the xylophone, but combined with beautiful backing vocals. Father Father is really just Laura and her piano. I don’t know what it’s about, but it’s got feeling. And Sing to the Moon has lush strings and a soaring theremin or something like it towards the end.
So brief summary – I really liked this album when I bought it, and listened to it non-stop. I still really like it. It’s quirky, possibly even eccentric, with a rich variety of unusual sounds that I think is the most interesting album I have bought in ages!