sat 20/07/2024

CD: Kelis - Food | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kelis - Food

CD: Kelis - Food

Full-flavoured sixth album from one of pop's most intriguing women

Kelis, sweet, savoury and more-ish

It’s hard not to admire Kelis Rogers’ spirited and unpredictable approach to the music business. She’s been through multiple incarnations, approaching them with real zest, the spiritual successor to Nena Cherry, albeit more prolific and emanating a very American hip hop raunch.

At her career’s start she explored the shouty borderland where R&B meets rock; in “Milkshake” she created one of the sexiest, starkest, best R&B numbers of the century, yet her last album was produced with EDM-pop Satan, David Guetta. Even outside her music, there’s always some new enthusiasm. The only time I interviewed her she spent much of the time talking about knitting. Now, as a graduate of the Cordon Bleu Culinary School, with her own catering company and line of sauces, she’s revelling in food. This seems to have earthed her, moved her on from electro-pop plasticity towards southern soul.

Food was created with David Sitek of TV on the Radio and was, apparently, made with casual contributions from his band, between endless tasty meals. The best of it has the brassy psychedelic soul euphoria of the fantastic “Second Song” from TV on the Radio’s last album. All the eating seems to have actually changed Kelis’s voice. Gone is any shrill edge, replaced by a smoothness that recalls Smokey Robinson and classic male R&B.

Stylistically, Kelis is as untamed as ever. While the core sound may be an imaginative update of bluesy Memphis soul, redolent of the MGs, there are forays into other regions. “Change” sonically reimagines The Mamas and the Papas in the age of Coldplay, “Floyd” is a spacey ballad, a meeting of Fleetwood Mac and Supertramp, “Bless the Telephone” is a nugget of Sixties West Coast strummery, and the closing “Dreamer” floats about like an offcut from Screamadlica fronted by the band’s backing singer Denise Johnson rather than frontman Bobby Gillespie.

Sonically, then, Food more than holds its own. If the songs themselves were consistently of the same calibre it would be a great rather than a good album.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Rumble"

All the eating seems to have actually changed her voice - gone is any shrill edge replaced by a smoothness that recalls Smokey Robinson


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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