Sing To The Moon
Laura Mvula is a multi award nominated artist but don’t hold that against her! Ed Jupp is impressed with her new album.
Being shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice at the Brit Awards (an organisation that, lest we forget, felt duty bound to honour One Direction somehow so they invented a new award this year) and the BBC Sound of 2013 poll can be a bit of a double edged sword. It’s publicity of course, but the risk of ending up flat on your face is terribly high as well.
In the case of Laura Mvula, though, I’d like to think that she would get the recognition at any time of year that her record company might choose to promote her, because she so clearly deserves it. There have been a couple of reviews which have inferred that this is music for middle-class people to have whilst hosting dinner parties (look, whatever your class background, there is a time and place to have Captain Beefheart or Sunn o))) on, and it isn’t while you’re eating with other people). Fools! Ms. Mvula is not simply another ‘worthy’ type to ‘appreciate’ without actually liking. Yes, she has a training in classical and jazz, and the net result is an artist who indicates on her debut that she may have far more in common with the likes of Kate Bush and Bjork than Dido or Norah Jones anyone of that ilk.
Yes, there are songs, Green Garden and Morning Dew in particular, which by title alone manage to convey something fresh and will haunt you for some time to come, albeit in a good way. There’s a voice which is soulful as in, has soul. And there’s a playfulness and willingness to explore but balanced enough not to end up self-indulgent.
Added to which, given the amount of stuff I get sent to review, it’s the first record in a long time, which has made my wife sit up and ask ‘who’s that?’ It may not be genre redefining or life changing, but there’s more going on here in one song than in an entire album by many of the indie-by-numbers guitar bands clogging up my inbox.