Laura Mvula: Pink Noise review – an album of overdue fun

(Atlantic)
Mvula’s renaissance continues with a bold album fuelled by 80s dance pop – and letting go

Raised in choirs then refined in the conservatoire, the recording artist Laura Mvula is the last singer you’d expect to rock huge shoulder pads, commanding you to “listen!” as a minimal 80s bassline unspools. But her recent rebirth as a diva with a keytar is one of the more convincing reinventions of recent times. Dua Lipa is not the only British solo female working 80s dance-pop correctly.

On Pink Noise – named after the frequencies slightly less harsh than white noise – Mvula channels both Janet Jackson and Grace Jones with verve. “Give in to the feeling!” she sings on the title track.

There’s a lot of letting go happening here. Suffering from anxiety, dropped by her record label in 2017 after two Mercury-nominated LPs, Mvula was overdue some fun. This album is it – in thrall to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the bass here is all spank, the keyboards all acrylic, with room for Mvula’s Jamaican heritage and chorister’s soprano. Got Me is audacious, not least because of its shameless recycling of Michael Jackson, but also because of its frank come-hithers. With all this shiny surface comes depth, too – the hard-won emotional content of these songs is all Mvula’s own.

Watch a video for Got Me

Contributor

Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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