Michael Kiwanuka – Love and HateCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Michael Kiwanuka returns with Love and Hate, his take on the famously tricky second album, especially following the success of Home Again in 2012. Above all, it is Kiwanuka’s signature vocals that stand out, the depth and warmth of his voice smouldering throughout, reminiscent of Bill Withers. From his beautiful ten-minute soundscape, Cold Little Heart, to Final Frame, the swaying, distorted guitar-filled, final glorious cry of the album, this work is a testament to Kiwanuka’s style and skill.
The first single to be released from Love and Hate has already been proving a success: Black Man in a White World is an up-tempo expression of frustration. It starts with a simple clapped beat and solo voice, very reminiscent of slave songs, the sound of which continues throughout. The title, repeated behind Kiwanuka’s contradicting lyrics, gives a feeling of confusion, an unsettling lack of solidity in emotion and experience.
Slower and more mournful, Love and Hate, is full of lush strings and soft female harmonies. With stripped-back instrumentation, Kiwanuka’s vocals seem exposed and vulnerable as the number builds in speed, complexity and a sense of dissatisfaction. The guitar solo is rough and raw, the distorted interlude perfect, before the song cuts back to its simple origins. This title track is incredibly well thought through and constructed, satisfying to listen to in its emotional progression.
Here is an album packed full of pain and joy, a wealth of soul searching and the angst and vexation that has poured forth, making it a more mature offering than Home Again. Predominantly, it is based around the same acoustic guitar lines and Kiwanuka’s classic soul singing, but production from Danger Mouse and Inflo has given the accompaniment of sophistication without any loss of style. This has allowed a great sense of space throughout the record, taking the listener with Kiwanuka through his raw, personal exploration.
Love and Hate is released on 15th July 2016, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Black Man in a White World here: