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

Fight Like Apes: Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion (Shock)

Fight Like Apes: Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion (Shock)

What we forget, because history is reductive, is that for every Beatles there were a dozen bands like the Merseybeats, for every Clash probably 20 like Sham 69 or UK Subs, for every Nirvana . . .... > Read more

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Blair Jollands (interviewed in 2004 here) is one of New Zealand's best-kept expat secrets. With his band El Hula he crafted some of the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MADRID AND BARCELONA: Putting in the hard yards for art's sake

MADRID AND BARCELONA: Putting in the hard yards for art's sake

We should expect to suffer for our art. God knows I have for mine -- although standing in the rain outside Madrid's famous art gallery the Prado on a bitterly cold day might just have be... > Read more

ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, a film by SACHA GERVASI

ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, a film by SACHA GERVASI

The story of this rock documentary -- or "rockumentary, if you will" -- is so soaked in parallels to the fictional Spinal Tap that you cannot help notice and mention it. But let's not... > Read more