Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

Packed with vibrating soul and lush textures.
Label: Interscope
Released: 1st November 2019
Rating: ★★★★

It’s amazing what one record can do for an artist. Heading into Michael Kiwanuka’s second LP ‘Love & Hate’, it’s fair to say that there were few expecting the stunning cinematic-soul display it contained – one that catapulted Michael to award nods and the biggest stages of his career. Reborn from the early buzz of his debut roots, ‘KIWANUKA’ feels like the vital next step. Drenched in the sort of vintage aura that would soundtrack classic Hollywood films, it’s a rich and warm continuation of a career basking in its prime.

Whilst ‘Love & Hate’ was all-encompassing, ‘KIWANUKA’ is a record looking up at the world around it and pulling in the sounds, smells and sights gathered. From the choppy opening swing of ‘You Ain’t The Problem’, through to the joyously smooth ‘Living In Denial’ and hypnotic calm of ‘Piano Joint (This Kind Of Love)’ – Michael has never sounded so at ease with every move he makes. Orchestrated to a tee, it’s enough for you to basically grab a box of popcorn and plug in to enjoy the full spectacle. ‘Hero’ moves from tender love ballad right up to a scorching fuzz-laden shake, ‘I’ve Been Dazed’ swoons in style and in ‘Final Days’ and ‘Solid Ground’ the spotlight shines and rises gracefully.

In ‘KIWANUKA’, Michael Kiwanuka takes the foundations he’s laid out before and elevates every element to a gloriously glossy new level – like a fresh gift from a previous generation. Packed with vibrating soul and lush textures, it’s a recipe everyone will be looking to copy but no-one will be able to master like the man himself.

Jamie Muir

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