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

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


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Laura Mvula review – she’s got the ex factor
Laura Mvula’s baroque soul, shot through with the sorrow of her marriage breakup, has never sounded so polished and concise

Ben Thompson

22, May, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Laura Mvula review – playing it safe for the seated masses
The Mercury-nominated star has overcome some personal demons this year but now needs to throw caution to the wind

Kitty Empire

20, Nov, 2016 @9:00 AM

Article image
Laura Mvula: Sing to the Moon – review
Laura Mvula's debut is dreamy and arresting, if a touch too tasteful, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

03, Mar, 2013 @12:05 AM

Article image
Laura Mvula – review

Mvula and her siblings' shimmer and shake leaves London awestruck, writes Betty Clarke

Betty Clarke

05, Mar, 2013 @6:18 PM

Article image
Laura Mvula: 'I feel like I'm the geeky kid of R&B'
But in the case of this young soul rebel, being a 'geek' means she's a classically trained composer, writes Kate Mossman

Kate Mossman

18, Nov, 2012 @12:05 AM

Article image
New band of the day: Laura Mvula (No 1,378)

In a corner of the market saturated by soul-girl songwriters, Mvula's delightfully unexpected arrangements could stand out

Paul Lester

23, Oct, 2012 @4:13 PM

Article image
Laura Mvula review – joyous, keytar-toting pop masterclass
Closing the Edinburgh international festival after years out of the spotlight, Mvula delivers a triumphant evening of lush 80s soundscapes

Katie Hawthorne

30, Aug, 2021 @1:02 PM

Article image
Laura Mvula: Sing to the Moon – review
It may be Laura Mvula's fate to be pitched as yet another retro-soul singer, but there's clearly more to her than that, says Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

28, Feb, 2013 @4:06 PM

Article image
Pink: Beautiful Trauma review – sound familiar?

Michael Cragg

15, Oct, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Laura Mvula review – leftfield soul talent swaggers and soars
An unamplified scat singalong with the crowd is one highlight of a disparate, jazz-inflected set held together by Mvula’s unique voice

Graeme Virtue

17, Nov, 2016 @11:05 AM