Jamie T’s second album in two years is a punk, rap, pop and hardcore tour de force
India.Arie : Acoustic Soul
Organic soul brilliance from the Stevie Wonder-endorsed Arie
At a time when R&B seems divided into two large camps - the synthesized, albeit accomplished, commercialism of the likes of Destiny's Child, Sisqo and Craig David et al; and that sprawling mass of experimentation and urban cool known as Nu Classic Soul that, unreasonably, umbrellas everyone from D'Angelo to Jazzyfatnastees - India's organic combo of acoustic symphonics, naked drums, the frankness of hip hop, and a voice borne of soul in its purest, most spiritual sense, stands out as a kind of sweet liberation.
'Acoustic Soul' delivers itself like a prayer. Lyrically, it makes a religion of blackness. A shrine to black femininity. To roundness and loveliness regardless of material worth in the audacious opener, 'Video'; to brilliance and honesty in the guitar-wrapped 'Back to the Middle'; to love and bravery in the elegant 'Ready For Love'.
Many other crusaders come to mind: Tracy Chapman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Roberta Flack - women with the blues tangled up in their hearts, who bind stoicism with sensuality, who create spaces, and will always, always do their own thing - no compromise. 'Acoustic Soul' is a formidable and deeply artistic debut.
Character studies and ready melodies abound in the latest record by the Oxford quartet
A battle-like record where fear and dread rule
Another gripping Pedro Almodóvar mystery, full of vibrant visuals and emotional revelations
The Californian succeeds, once again, in exposing the ugliness of mankind. It’ll get under your skin