Home Again [VINYL]
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Debut studio album by the British soul singer, who topped the BBC's Sound of 2012 list. Produced by Paul Butler, the lead singer of indie rock band The Bees, the album debuted at #4 in the UK Albums Chart and features the singles 'I'm Getting Ready' and 'Home Again'.
Earlier this year Michael Kiwanuka saw off tasty competition from hot tips Frank Ocean and Azealia Banks to be named the BBC’s Sound of 2012 winner by a panel of critics who clearly saw greater long-term potential in the London-born singer-songwriter than in his more obviously hip rivals. If they're minded to, Ocean and Banks have a right to feel aggrieved – the critics were 40 years out. Kiwanuka couldn't be more Sound of 1972 if he was teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony.
This isn't pejorative. It's not as if Kiwanuka is weeping salt tears over his Puppy Love or co-opting the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He's got taste. He's "getting it together in the country" with Steve Winwood and Traffic, or beachcombing with Terry Callier, because Home Again is a folk/soul album, warm and understated with a breath of psychedelia. It might not heave with originality, but it's run through with a faith and sincerity that just about overpowers reservations.
And faith is a big thing for Kiwanuka, who peppers I'm Getting Ready – relaxed and summery like early solo Paul Simon – with calls to the Lord, and makes deep promises to his brother man on the gospel-soaked I Won't Lie. Even the less obviously devotional stuff like the slow-burn blues of Worry Walks Beside Me, the Moondance-era Van Morrison of Rest or the mariachi jazz of Always Waiting has the feel of a kind of pilgrimage – Kiwanuka is perpetually on the hunt for something, peace of mind, relief, the return home.
Produced by The Bees' Paul Butler, the album betrays hints of the Isle of Wight analogue dandies' free spirit in its more abandoned moments. Opener Tell Me a Tale is a glorious combination of fluttering jazz flute and Tempations swing, while I'll Get Along – with its nifty, crystal guitar and louche handclaps – is a quiet riot.
But all this spiralling through folk, soul and jazz settles on Kiwanuka's voice, a rich, weathered instrument that appears to carry more than 24 years' experience. If the occasional song is man-and-guitar by numbers, he's got the cords to conjure a bit of depth, whatever the decade.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, having spent the last week with Michael (figuratively speaking) I am glad to say that I'm very, very impressed. There has been real attention to detail when it comes to creating a collection of songs that would sit happily alongside a number of classic early 70's soul albums.
Its clear right from opening the CD case that Michael Kiwanuka's 'Home Again' album is heavily influenced by classic soul; the case has been put together to look remarkably like a record sleeve and is peppered with photos that feel like they were shot in the same era. Thankfully this attention to detail and homage to soul legends like Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye etc. extends beyond the artwork and straight into the music.
The opening track 'Tell me a Tale' is a gorgeous song full strings and a smattering of horns that could have come straight from a Curtis Mayfield tune. Though still has a unique sound of its own, instrumentation is perfect. Michael Kiwanuka's vocal delivery brings Marvin Gaye to mind, smooth and soulful, with just an edge of pain and suffering.
Highlights come thick and fast through the early tracks. Notably, the third song 'I'll get Along' has a beautiful melody and the vocal is marvellously supported by the fluttering of flutes that is very reminiscent of Bill Withers.Read more ›
For me its a very spiritual album but not a religious one and this I discovered when I was listening to it. I did not buy it
because I was looking for the spiritual, I bought it because I recognised something beautiful.
I recommend this CD to anyone who needs or wants to take time out to be still and soothed.....this will do it for you:)
I listened to a lot of these songs on youtube, before the album was released so I knew what to expect. A lovely slow burning album wrapped up in his soft, subtle voice. Music to while an evening away with loved ones.
I look forward to more from Mr Kiwanuka.
Michael next time you are in the studio make sure you get a far better producer and engineer, you deserve much better than this. I truly hope that others appreciate your talent - truly a rising star.
Four tracks are outstanding. The first, 'Tell Me A Tale' sounds like something recorded about forty years ago, with its retro brass, woodwind and lightly swinging jazz inflection. The second, 'I'm Getting Ready', is wrapped in a warm, acoustic feel. 'Bones' feels as if it goes back to the fifties, with its brushes and gospel-like choir. This, I think, is also the most articulate lyric. Finally, 'Always Waiting' boasts a lovely melody.
Another plus point is Kiwanuka's vocal style. A comparison with Bill Withers is understandable; he has a feeling for soul bereft of the histrionics that have blighted most of the genre since Houston and Carey got hold of it. His voice, however, is much softer.
The rest of the album is better than average, but the material isn't. I was hoping to hear something a little more adventurous than the 'lonely without you' theme that dominates.
I certainly recommend 'Home Again', which isn't bad coming from someone who isn't really a soul fan, but I don't think the artist will improve on this unless he can throw the shackles off his songwriting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simply a must buy for any self respecting collector of vinyl. The format adds a greater depth and perspective on this artists outstanding voice. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Thomas
Not mind-blowing originality in terms of style, but still a really lovely album. Every single song held up, and Kiwanuka's voice is beautiful. Good, mellow tunes.Published 1 month ago by R. Speedie