thu 30/05/2024

Album: Laura Mvula - Pink Noise | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Laura Mvula - Pink Noise

Album: Laura Mvula - Pink Noise

Mvula's love letter to the Eighties is a heartfelt tour de force

Euphoric key changes and monolithic beats: Laura Mvula

Album number three from Ivor Novello-winning singer-songwriter Laura Mvula sees her paying singularly personal homage to the music of the 1980s.

Change, Chic, Michael Jackson and more are all called to mind at various points, with “Church Girl” seemingly nodding to the US songwriting and production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with its textural palate of drum machine (a Roland TR-808, perhaps?), hand claps and shiny synths, plus a final fade to the unadorned beauty of the human voice, a stylistic trait which Mvula uses to exquisite effect here and elsewhere on the album.

Whether it’s the euphoric key change of the scene-setting “Safe Passage”, the monolithic beats and interlocking synth lines of “Remedy”, or the minimalist funk of the title track, what Mvula does brilliantly is the way in which she juxtaposes highly distinctive blocks of material – the music can switch from a nasty bass synth line to a huge, all-enveloping pad in the blink of an eye.

It’s when we reach the album’s midway point that Mvula hits you with the stone cold masterpiece that is “Magical”. With drop-dead gorgeous vocal harmonies, an arrangement packed with incredible detail – who doesn’t love a dramatic timpani roll? – a deliciously in-the-pocket groove, plus yet another spine-tingling key change, it’s slightly over four minutes of musical perfection. Lyrically, the song reflects one of the album’s central themes of beginnings and endings.

Other highlights include a duet with Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil on “What Matters”, the rolling bass groove of “Got Me” (surely a nod here to “The Way You Make Me Feel”), and the gloriously widescreen textures of “Before The Dawn”, a song which seems at once both hymnic and filmic, with Mvula’s vocal bathed in the warmest of reverbs. It closes the door on an extraordinary album from a sui generis artist.


It’s when we reach the album’s midway point that Mvula hits you with the stone cold masterpiece that is 'Magical'


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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