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4.4 out of 5 stars271
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Laura Mvula is a new and prodigious talent from Birmingham who would be well advised to demand a recount from the BBC's poll the Sound of 2013. Here she finished fourth behind the rather average American band Haim. On the evidence of this debut album "Sing to the Moon" she was robbed. Mvula arrives in the most crowded of musical fields and the key to success here is the ability to present extra dimensions in terms of both singing and song writing, She is probably fed up already with comparisons to Nina Simone but they do echo throughout this record which is one of the reasons that why parts of it are so special. Some of the music on here has already been previewed in her earlier EP "She" released in November last year yet they fit wonderfully into the context of this debut when we witness Laura Mvula's talent in the round. Opener "Like the morning dew" is a case in point. It opens with a wall of voices alia the Beach Boys and then moves into a tender ballad where Mvula's phrasing and vocals are exemplary. It is on "Green Garden" where the Simone comparison is perhaps most obvious not least with the "Sinnerman" style hand claps in the background and the almost spoken vocal. It is nonetheless a great R & B song which deserves its rightful status as a sparkling single. Other songs like the aching ballad "Can't live with the world" and the joyous almost Pet Sounds sounding "Is there anybody out there" show the foundations for an incredible talent. It is a contest however between "Father Father" and "She" which vie for the albums best track. The former is a sublime jazzy piano ballad which will replay repeated listens. "She" alternatively has the edge with it wonderful melody, superb backing and a timeless quality. Mvula's spoken vocal draws you into the song describing how "She walked towards you with her head down low/ She wondered if there was a way out of the blue/Who's gonna take her home this time? She knew that this time wouldn't be the last time". This moves into a huge choral backdrop which is both haunting and immaculate. Indeed you must promise to seek out the sterling video that accompanies the song.

There are a couple of missteps here with "Flying without you" being rather to clever for its own good and far too close for comfort to Amy Winehouse circa her debut "frank", whilst "I know what the weather will be" is rather lightweight and frankly lacks a memorable tune. The title track makes up for these deficiencies. It is slow and glacial ballad which builds gradually into a huge anthem accompanied by almost military style drums. Even better is the last track "Diamonds" where Mvula's voice receives its best showcase on a truly beautiful song. There are some nice extras bolted onto the deluxe edition not least demo's of "She" and "Green Garden" plus solid live versions of "Father Father" and "Diamonds" all are which are fascinating but not completely vital in the context of very polished main body of work.

"Sing to Moon" presents a singer laden with promise and possibilities of much great things to come. As it stands this debut is a big calling card for Laura Mvula and if there is any justice it will grab the hearts and minds of the record buying public. Her ambition on this work is to be applauded containing as it does music ranging from classic orchestral chamber music to retro soul. The fact that it doesn't all work is a consequence of this, yet when it all the parts come together Mvula presents us with a uplifting soul vision which is destined for great things.
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on 10 March 2013
When I first heard Laura I was instantly captivated. This is not genre music. This is timeless. These are intelligently written songs with inspirations drawn from many sources. People have been saying what a great new soul artist etc etc. I'm sorry but I don`t hear soul music here. I do hear a fantastic voice singing FROM her soul. The songs themselves are mostly fairly low key with minimal instrumentation and the voice is sublime. Listen to those perfect harmonies, drawn from Beach Boys Pet Sounds. What, I hear you say? Well don't let that put you off - this is NOT Beach Boy stuff. Just listen and be entranced. There are jazzy influences, bluesy influences, gospel influences, pop, and yes a bit of soul is in there too.
Most of all it's just beautiful music you can't ignore. Miles from the constant drivel that is churned out daily. Music that will last.
Check out YouTube for her live performances. There's some talent in her band as well.
It's already been said but I'm saying it again - this girl is the one to watch.
Laura, all i have to say to YOU is this - stay true to what you are doing now. Don`t let the industry taint you.
People, get this album or miss out on something wonderful.
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on 23 March 2013
Emerging with She EP, Laura Mvulas debut album Sing To The Moon has been highly anticipated by critics. Singer/songwriters are hardly a rarity in this day and age however Mvula brings something new to the table which really makes her stand out from the crowd. She quickly proves she is not yet another Amy Winehouse clone, going on further to make a distinctive sound you'll yearn for more of.

Opener Like The Morning Dew sets the tone perfectly: gentle vocals with epic orchestration to match. Layers of harmony overlay each other to create a track which rewards further listening. Make Me Lovely has a sharp parallel between the chorus and verse: one grand and powerful, the other minimalistic and shy. Lead Single Green Garden adopts a slightly lighter tone picking up the pace a bit.

Mvula goes on to prove she has it all when it comes to writing. Can't Live With The World is slow and long without inducing sleep, That's alright harkens back to the soul music which she was originally recognised for, She has a simple base but builds up into something far more complex. Even I Don't Know What The Whether Will Be conceals a hidden message, a running theme behind the whole album structure.

I would go as far to say that I only have one complaint, which comes in the form of Diamonds. Even now with several plays I can't remember anything about it and makes a strikingly poor end to an album. Definitely worth buying and look out for Laura Mvula has the year goes on...
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on 4 March 2013
I by chance happened to notice at the turn of the year that Laura Mvula was in line for sound of 2013 and, having read what she was supposedly about (Billie Holliday meets the Beach Boys), I was intrigued enough to research further via You Tube. I was hugely impressed by what I heard and saw and have eagerly awaited today's release of "Sing To The Moon" ever since. I'm thrilled to report that I am not disappointed. This is a truly magnificent debut; so refreshing a contrast from the bland parade of mega selling singer/songwriters who clog the airwaves with their lovelorn four chord wonders (yawn). I name no names, you know who they are. Laura offers something so different, so sumptious, it is hard to know where to start describing it. Think of a very adventurous Sade merged with the multi layered vocals of the underrated Judy Tzuke perhaps, or go back further across the Atlantic to remember the dense & complex structures of Laura Nyro's "New York Tendaberry" or Joni Mitchell circa "Hissing Of Summer Lawns". Very often it's also easy to fantasise that this is what the result might have been if Brian Wilson at his "Pet Sounds" peak had produced Nina Simone or indeed the aforementioned Billie Holliday. The choral vocals & beautifully constructed orchestral arrangements create a sonic wonder that leave one's spine tingling long after the final track (possibly the lovliest of them all, "Diamonds") has ended. I will not go into detail about the individual songs, but merely state that there isn't a bad track amongst the twelve on this CD. I'm well into my 50s & not easily impressed by new music, but this 26 year old has well & truly restored my faith and there is always hope. If you love sophisticated, beautiful & sensitive music that is astonishingly well crafted & performed, this glorious album is for you.
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on 24 March 2013
Wow. Laura Mvula has come up with a gorgeous, polished debut album that gets better with every listen. The lyrics go from heartbreaking (Can't Live With The World) to defiant (That's Alright) to joyful (Green Garden). I hope she survives the hype and goes on to have a long career. She certainly has the talent.
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on 5 March 2013
Will it have mass market appeal or is it destined to become a cult classic ?? Clearly not a believer in the 'less is more approach' some of the 12 tracks have everything but the kitchen sink blown, strummed, plucked or banged to create a fantastic uplifting album, & on the title track, Father Father & She moments of jaw dropping beauty. If not a contender for album of the year & certainty for best debut. Relax, sit back & savour a genuine new talent.
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There is very little that could prepare you for a artist as extraordinary as
Laura Mvula. Where on earth has she been hiding? Those in the know : friends,
collaborators and early aficionados are privileged to be ahead of those of us
for whom the release of her debut album 'Sing To The Moon' this week finds us
rushing to catch up with this quite remarkable event in the listening world.

This wonderful singer/writer/performer has arrived fully-formed with a sound
and style so innovative that its freshness and energy takes one's breath away.
Ms Mvula's voice is a ravishing instrument : poised, clear, rich and emotionally
pure from top to bottom through its considerable range. Her facility with melody
and (in particular) harmonic structure delivers surprises at every twist and
turn in the twelve compositions which make up this blissfully unpredictable set.

The arrangements are delivered with impeccable finesse by her crack instrumental
ensemble. Strings, brass, harp, piano, percussion and the voices of at least a
dozen other angels combine to create sonorities the likes of which we might
find in music as diverse as the maverick orchestral works of Charles Ives, the
literate chamber jazz of Mike and Kate Westbrook and even (perhaps most strangely
in terms of my own associations) David Crosby - especially his 1971 album
'If I Could Only Remember My Name' (listen especially to 'Orleans' and 'I'd
Swear There Was Somebody Here' to catch my drift). It's an utterly dazzling
display of talent; seamlessly articulated and endlessly intriguing.

From the joyous incandescent harmonies of opening track 'Like The Morning Dew';
via the raucous rhythmic byways of 'Green Garden' (do, do watch the video if you
haven't seen it already and smile until your face aches!); the painful but
tenderly articulated personal reflections of 'Father, Father' and the utterly
bewitching 'She', Ms Mvula's vision is never less than totally focused and sincere.
The song 'Sing To The Moon', however, deserves a cloud in heaven all to itself!

This is the stuff that true musical dreams are made of. A sublime first showing!

Essential.
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on 20 June 2013
The music is fresh and original - to my mind it is perfect summer music. Very melodic, beautifully presented with very original arrangements. It's refreshing to hear acoustic instruments. There is not a bad song here! I bought the LP version (so I can read the sleeve notes and see the photo's) and the vinyl quality is superb.
I strongly urge people to buy a decent record deck and pre-amp and start using vinyl again!
I recommend this album to anyone and everyone!
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on 9 March 2013
While so much music is being released from disposable artists who put hardly any thought into their music, it is nice to hear something from an artist who boasts real longevity within the industry.

After hearing Laura's music a while ago and purchasing other music of hers, I knew that I had to buy her album and it was worth every penny. Sit back, relax and unwind to the soulful tones of Laura Mvula, for she is the future of British soul music.
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on 13 March 2013
A really fantastic album from a beautiful lady of immense charm and intelligence - just see her interviews. Birmingham has a fantastic attitude to the arts and if Laura has, in even the smallest part, benefited from that, it has all been more than worthwhile.
Laura may get labelled as a soul artist, but she has a unique take on the genre. The album is not all sublime, but it is never worse than thoroughly entertaining.
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