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Kelela - Take Me Apart (Album Review)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 Written by Jacob Brookman

Kelela’s 2013 mixtape, ‘Cut 4 Me’, introduced her to audiences through a blend of sexy future R&B and nu-soul minimalism. Her first album, ‘Take Me Apart’, builds on those foundations with a selection of sultry, lo-fi electronica, recorded with producers from the worlds of pop and avant-garde: Arca to Ariel Rechtshaid and key collaborator, Jam City.

Highlights include the outwardly pop single LMK. It’s a ‘90s sci-fi track with a menacing, vaporous synth motif that is propelled forward through terse drum-loops and trap bass. Over the top we are offered a constellation of vocal layers that demonstrate Kelela’s talent for individual hook-writing and lyrical blend.

Similarly, Frontline is a fresh-sounding song with delicate vocal delivery and nimble, nuanced production. The lyrics (about a break-up) are front and centre, and while there is no shortage of passion here, Kelela stops short of bitterness.

“Couldn't take it back even though you wish I could," she sings. "If you think I'm going back, you misunderstood / Cry and talk about it, baby, but it ain't no use / See you wasn't lookin' when I pushed.”

The vocal phrasing on this album is probably its most distinctive element and on Frontline, little rat-a-tat-tat slurs find their way into otherwise smooth and laconic-sounding bars.

This is also the case on the album’s high point: Better. Here, a cute arrangement is married with soft synth chords, intimate lyrics and industrial flourishes. Like the majority of work by genre cousins NAO and FKA Twigs, Kelela’s work lives and dies on the edginess of its production. 'Take Me Apart' is very much alive.

Kelela Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon November 27 2017 - MANCHESTER Gorilla
Tue November 28 2017 - LONDON Heaven
Wed November 29 2017 - LONDON Heaven

Click here to compare & buy Kelela Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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