Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Michael Kiwanuka: 'Home Again' Album Review

Summary: A brilliant début of transcendental beauty.
Listen To: 'I'm Getting Ready'; 'I'll Get Along'; 'Rest'; 'Worry Walks Beside Me'
Avoid: 'Any Day Will Do Fine'
Get It: Here

There is something special about Michael Kiwanuka's music. The instrumentation manages to capture the magic of folk music while his voice encapsulates the raw emotion of soul music, with both combining together to produce some truly beautiful music. 'Home Again' is Kiwanuka's début album and it is one of the greatest of recent times.

This is an album that stands out because every track sounds complete. Often we will hear songs that fall short of their mark or fail to even identify a mark, but not a single song on here faces either of those problems. Songs like title track 'Home Again' show Kiwanuka's ability to craft a well-rounded song that reach a climax and then gently come back down to a mellow ending. Others, such as 'Rest' and 'Always Waiting' show a gentler approach - one that leads to a track of transcendental beauty from start to finish.

'I'll Get Along' deserves a special mention as one of the standout tracks. Characterised by breezy instrumentation and a melody that floats gracefully upon it, it stands out as one of the more accessible songs on the album. This track is the feel-good sound of summer 2012.

The only quibble with this album is the order of the tracks. Some songs feel a bit out-of-place and as if they should be elsewhere in the tracklisting. Plodding ballad-esque song 'Rest' is the best example of this, being the fourth track when it should ideally be much later. However, this does little to stop the flow of the album in the slightest.

Though this album will mostly appeal to afficionados of acoustic folk and soul music, it does have tracks of merit to a wider audience. These tracks, such as 'I'm Getting Ready' and 'I'll Get Along', have an accessible enough sound that they could break the mainstream. And this is what makes the album so great: its potential to make Kiwanuka a household name.
If angst and darkness are what you are looking for, you won't find it here. But you will find wisdom delivered by a smooth voice and a talented soul that has known sadness. This is definitely worth a listen.


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