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Laura Mvula - Back to the Golden Age of Funk

By Marc Zisman |

For her third album, the British soul sister offers a retro-futuristic trip back to the 80s.

Laura Mvula has always taken her time. This time it took her five years to finish a follow-up to her 2016 release Dreaming Room, for which she had drawn inspiration primarily from the great African-American poet Maya Angelou. A long detour that was accompanied by a profound transformation. Right from her debut album Sing To The Moon (2013), in fact, the Birmingham-born singer had firmly established herself on the well-populated British soul scene, showcasing her strong personality and that widely audible, enviable voice.

With Pink Noise, she clearly takes a step back from the standards of the genre to include much more diverse sounds. "I had always dreamed of making this album", she confides. "With colours like a sunset in the 80s. That's when the sounds explode".

80s + sound explosion: it couldn't be put more aptly, such is the creativity typical of this decade that runs like a thread through this hit and groovy third album. The guitars sound a lot like Prince, the tense drums have something of Phil Collins, the keyboards remind us of Peter Gabriel, the tingling melodies of Michael 'Flashdance' Sembello - they are all in on this "externally" determined, so beautifully TR-808-scented opus, however the voice of the Englishwoman keeps control over any hostilities at all times. Because even when the borrowings become all too obvious, she hypnotises us with her charisma. It's addictive.


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