One of the forerunners for album of the year has dropped, but does it live up to the hype? Michael Kiwanuka’s, ‘Home Again’, has been one of the most eagerly anticipated LPs for a long time and some were expecting an anti-climactic offering. Thankfully though, on this evidence it should certainly keep the critics happy and cement the North Londoner’s place as a musical heavyweight. The soul supremo has not disappointed here, making all of the Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Richie Havens comparisons at least some way justifiable.
From the sublime opener, Tell Me A Tale, right through to, Worry Walks Beside Me, each track shows songwriting of sublime poise and depth. Tell Me A Tale has been on the wishlist of every discerning DJ for months now, with its languid opening, supreme Afro fanfare and entrancing outro. And, even though the track is the standout by a mile, it is still a decent barometer of this album’s overall quality and style. The Tell Me A Tale EP still trades for silly money on eBay and is a testament to this gem’s timeless beauty. Expect the rest of the album to have as much longevity also.
For me, Kiwanuka reminds me more of Jon Lucien and his Caribbean flavours, or the spiritually uplifting tones of Leon Thomas – and his Ugandan roots seem to ooze through this soul sound and gives it an extra dimension for me. After supporting Adele on her Live 2011 tour, as well as at her iTunes Festival 2011 gig, it is easy to see how Kiwanuka has broken free and begun to forge his own path. After BBC Radio 6 Music cult fame, followed by more fans from a wave of recent live gigs, it would appear that this is Kiwanuka’s time and he could be this country’s next big thing.