Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again

Michael Kiwanuka won the BBC’s Sound of 2012 and on hearing his debut album ‘Home Again’ I can see why.  As soon as this album started I instantly thought of the criminally underrated ‘Cold Fact’ by Sixto Rodriguez but was also reminded of Arthur Lee and Love circa ‘Forever Changes’. It has one foot loosely in the present and one firmly in the past with its unashamed flutes and flower power vibes. But it is also much more than that, there is old school motown that is slightly Sam Cooke but more often than not Al Green and  even malt shop skiffle on ‘Bones’. Kiwanuka’s voice sounds worn, in a good way, like he has owned it a lot longer than his youthful years attest to, it is rich and varied and really carries these ten tracks. The songs are built around his acoustic guitar which gives each one a folk sensibility that branches out with flourishes of strings, handclaps and harmonies. There really isn’t a weak song amongst them and ‘I’ll Get Along’ is probably one of the catchiest and most perfectly formed you will hear all year. The downside is that if you already have his three track debut E.P. (all included here) this means that there are only seven new tracks on offer which feels a little short. That said the album is strong, confident and once it starts to infiltrated the consciousness of the music buying public should be everywhere by the summer and will without doubt feature highly in the end of year lists. Where he goes from here we shall have to see but on the strength of this it should be very far indeed.

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