Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again (Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

Michael Kiwanuka: Rest
Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again (Universal)

London-born to Ugandan parents, Michael Kiwanuka has become something of a "next big thing" in the British music scene, but on the evidence of this quietly confident debut album he seems to vindicate the praise being heaped on him.

It's not just that he connects to the soul and spirit of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks (the Afro-horn influenced opener Tell Me a Tale), and a folk-soul take on Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding in reflective mood, but that the gentle orchestrations and arrangements support yet let his voice take front'n'centre.

And that voice seems to contain an almost unnatural amount of hurt and a battering by life -- he's only 24 -- which he either articulates (Always Waiting, Worry Walks Beside me) or sings of getting past (the lovely I'm Getting Ready, the title track). He also suggests rather than states (the hint of Motown/Stax on the finger-snap, lightly jazzy Bones).

Kiwanuka sings of the strength of faith in the subtle way Gaye used to, and in Rest he has a weary, modern day soul classic which sounds instantly familiar.

Because a similar mood prevails throughout the 10 tracks, opinion will be divided as to whether he needed to mix up the energy levels to stretch himself or that this works better for the soulful tone-poem quality.

Frankly, I think this is more impressive for being so lowkey, intimate and subtle.

Yep, his time is gonna come. Sooner rather than later, I think.

Like the sound of this? Then you should check out Otis Redding.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Helen Henderson: Twisting Wind (Ranui)

Helen Henderson: Twisting Wind (Ranui)

Tough and often earthy blues rock/alt.country from a New Zealand-born LA raised singer-songwriter who here calls up some big names (guitarist Doug Pettibone, Spooner Oldham on keyboards) whose... > Read more

The Bombay Royale: You Me Bullets Love (Hope Street)

The Bombay Royale: You Me Bullets Love (Hope Street)

Much as I enjoyed the theatrical conceit of this faux-Bollywood outfit from Melbourne at the recent Womad in New Zealand, I could also see immediately why this album of a faux-soundtrack (with a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Lloyd McNeill: Asha (Universal Sounds/Southbound)

Lloyd McNeill: Asha (Universal Sounds/Southbound)

Jazz flautist Lloyd McNeill lived the kind of life only possible in his era: he counted among his friends in the Sixties and Seventies Pablo Picasso (when they both lived in the south of France,... > Read more

Various Artists: The Active Listener Sampler 41 (activelistener)

Various Artists: The Active Listener Sampler 41 (activelistener)

Elsewhere can probably do no greater favour to break your ingrained listening habits than recommend you sign up to The Active Listener, one of those niche-market labour of love projects by... > Read more