Laura Mvula – Pink Noise
For her first studio album in five years, Laura Mvula has channelled decades’ worth of influence, sounds and synths, combining styles past and present to create a record that sounds like it could just as plausibly be straight from the future. Bringing positivity and focus to her collaboration with producer Dann Hume, alongside a rawness that keeps the tracks grounded in the real, Mvula delivers an example of pop music at its best – and a lot more besides – even as she puts a whole range of genres to work.
From the delicious guitar riffs and resonant layered chorus of Safe Passage to the keyboards evoking Prince, the beats conjuring late 80s Michael Jackson, and the vocal energy recalling Whitney Houston on single Church Girl, this is an album that could only be Mvula’s, and the citation of musical legends is necessary only to place the record among its peers. These songs luxuriate (as in the title track, a mellifluous journey of love and all the music it contains before it even reaches the studio) and educate (as with Remedy and its imperative voice). Mvula captures multitudes in this track list, though, shifting from a timely interrogation (“how many more must die before the remedy?”) to the uplifting Magical, whose rising chorus instructs listeners: “Don’t let go of the magic”. Time and place melt together here, too; the orchestral strings and vocal echoes of Golden Ashes reverberate as if performed in a stadium or a chapel, while on What Matters – a collaboration with Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil – a classic, gentle, RnB-inspired beat under muted keyboards sounds as though Quincy Jones just must have been involved at some stage.
So much more than a comeback, Mvula’s first album with Atlantic marks the beginning of a new era – or possibly eras, plural, offering a landscape of different moods and moments drenched in the day’s first or last few hours of sunlight. There’s nothing to be added or changed on Pink Noise. It’s a masterful lesson in delivering creative potential in new or rebuilt forms.
Pink Noise is released on 2nd July 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Laura Mvula’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Safe Passage here: