Review: Leifur James' 2018 debut album, "A Louder Silence", was that most rare of musical gems: a hugely entertaining album of eclectic, off-kilter experiments rooted in both jazz and atmospheric electronica. "Angel In Disguise", his long-promised follow-up, takes a similar approach, layering his own intricate piano playing and occasional vocals over skittish, off-kilter beats, droning electronics, ghostly ambient tones, Nathan Fake style fuzz-fuelled melodies and occasional up-tempo, almost club-ready beats. The obvious comparison is James Blake circa his 2011 debut album, but that doesn't really do justice to the boldness and inventiveness of James' compositions. The best advice we can give is to listen to the clips: we'd be surprised if you were disappointed.
I Need Your Love (feat Ledisi & Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah)
You Know What It Do
Feels So Good (feat Cecily)
Turn Me Up (feat Aloe Blacc)
Just The Way You Are
Baby Don't Cry (feat J Hoard)
Nobody Knows My Name (feat Laura Mvula & Kris Bowers)
Take Me Home (feat Lizz Wright)
I Found A Love (feat Taali)
Miss Me When I'm Gone (feat Marcus Machado)
Oracle (feat Erik Truffaz & Hindi Zahra)
Review: Astonishingly, eight years have passed since NYC soul man Jose James released the brilliant "No Beginning No End" album on Blue Note. He's released plenty of other impressive sets since, though few quite as effervescent and sonically perfect. This belated sequel is therefore hotly anticipated. Happily we can report that it's superb, with James offering up a suite of super-strong soul songs that variously join the dots between neo-soul, summery sing-alongs (see the catchy "You Know What It Do"), jazz-funk, flash-fired hip-hop-soul, slow jams and the kind of slick but bustling soul-jazz gems that he's always done so well. It's still only March, but we have no doubt this will be one of the soul albums of the year.
Review: Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as 'the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain'. For his latest outing, he presents an album that had long lurked inside his mind. He formed a band in Trinidad's capital, Port of Spain (the aptly named Caribbean Roots) and they began recording - soaking up the intense effervescence of the local music - past and present. They locked themselves in a house that they converted into a studio in the earlier part of 2017, where among them were practitioners of the steelpan, soca and rapso right, alongside lovers of more contemporary R&B, soul and rock flavours. The steelpan's metallic overtones are the album's guiding musical thread throughout, helping to highlight Joseph's political lyrics, social commentary and conscience of black identity. The grooves are strong and they bring both the players and listeners together in a collective trance. People Of The Sun is sure to push Trinidadian music to new listeners, far beyond its sandy shores.
Review: The best editions of the long running "Back To Mine" series tend to be those where the chosen selector offers up a varied but loosely linked mix of surprising and lesser-known tunes. On their edition, Mercury Prize nominated duo Jungle has done just that. Beginning with the bluesy late night lament of Barbara Moore's "Steam Heart", the pair takes us on a warming and eye-opening journey through Afrobeat (Inflo), glassy-eyed wind-down deep house (Manuel Darquart, Admin's brilliant "Space Cadet"), skewed pop (Mocky), string-laden jazz-funk (Kamaal Williams), Serge Gainsbourg-esque chanson (Sam Evian), drowsy Balearica (Mansur Brown), and loved-up 1960s style dream pop (The Flying Stars Of Brooklyn NY, HNNY).