UK Soul strikes twice

Emeli Sande “Our Version of Events” (buy)

Emeli Sande released her debut album t “Our Version of Events”. Having won the Brit’s Awards Critics Choice and delivered three outstanding singles, it was about time her album dropped. I saw her live last December at Koko, London and she was polished. I’d heard the entire album live, and was mesmerised by her talent and song writing. So, I approached the album with apprehension due to some less-tahn-favourable reviews, but bought it regardless. I think it falls just short of brilliant due to what sounds like a little restraint in the arrangements. She could have gone in an edgier, direction – as Nellee Hooper did with Bjork’s Debut, hence the Leona Lewis or Alexandra Burke album comparisons. But hell, she’s written with Alicia Keys and is the Brit newcomer. She should be huge this year and definitely has a sound the US would buy. Here’s a review of some of the tracks:

Hope. Stunning and worth the album price alone. Worthy of Alicia, Leona or any soul diva. I melt when those strings come in at 2.00 mins.and I’ve replayed this time and again already. This song made me cry at the concert. What a softy. 

Clown. Beautiful. The strings on the first chorus give me chills. Enchanting middle eight. A personal, elegant song.

Suitcase. Solid, soul ballad. It could benefit from a more raw, emotive , extended ending to give it that kick into amazing.

Heaven. Superb, career-defining song. A best-of single in 2011 hands down.

My Kind of Love.I was waiting for more percussion and it feels restrained or like a single edit. Great song though. Could be a 4th single with a re-swizz.

Daddy. I prefer this recorded version to the many live performances I’ve heard now. Perfect trip-hoppy percussion and the crisp Massive Attack-style strings really snap.  Drama, drama.

Next To Me. Smart 3rd single choice. A bit Motown, a lot soulful and very urban.

This is the performance that sold me and thousands of others. Overall, a much better album than I expected. 7.5/10

Maverick Sabre “Lonely Are The Brave” (buy)

OK, so I’m writing this short review and read a tweet from Popjustice that Marverick is part of the New Boring. I know what they mean in that it’s a safe sound (in order to sell units) and he’s not a Gaga-attention grabbing pop star. Whatever.

This seems like a companion album to Emeli ‘s. This debut album is  modern, urban soul some of which reminds me of a male Amy Winehouse. Maverick has a distinctive voice (either you like it or not) but I like it, a lot. Wikipedia described his sound as post-dubstep, or reggae-fusion. LOL at the new genres, but I expected a more hip-hop affair – perhaps I was expecting a Streets-like album, but instead it’s soul of the horns, strings, bluesy, Plan B type.  He’s from Hackney, is 22 years old and featured on Professor Green’s 4th single “ Jungle” as well as collabs with Chase and Status. Mostly though, you’ll hear a personal, gritty and honest album. I need to play this a few more time to get under my skin but I tweeted that I thought it was 15% better than Emeli’s. I’m not sure now.

I Need. Scratchy, old Hammond organ soul.  His first single.

Let Me Go. OMG I love this. Portishead sample, harp sweeps, dramatic chorus. Up there with pop song of 2011 for me.

Cold Game. Mid-tempo string-laden. “I don’t want to live this way, but sometimes there‘s no other way”.

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