Strong, soulful British female singer-songwriters have enjoyed such amazing crossover success in recent years it sometimes appears that record companies must be scouring open mic nights in search of successors to Amy Winehouse, Adele and Emeli Sandé, snapping up every young chanteuse they can find with a broken heart and Grade 6 piano. On first sight, Laura Mvula might appear to be the latest candidate, easy-on-the-ear and eye, with a forthright vocal manner, unadorned beauty and copious melodious gifts. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the breadth of her talents and her bold commitment to creative individuality. Sing To The Moon is one of the most striking and original debuts from any British artist in many a year.
Pick any track and you find yourself groping to enumerate the musical multitudes it contains. Like The Morning Dew opens in a bright blast of choral ecstasy, before shrinking to a soft hum of acoustic bass and tinkling bells, then playfully breaking in to a stirring march. Is There Anybody Out There? advances with a stately strum and a vocal as poised as Nina Simone at her most querulous, before opening up with a flourish of harp. The ebulliently confrontational That’s Alright could be Billie Holiday in a Thirties flapper romp underpinned by Burundi percussion, Busby Berkley meets Adam Ant.
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