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Mabel - High Expectations (Album Review)

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 Written by Milly McMahon

A sassy, honest exercise in self-exploration, Mabel's debut album 'High Expectations' has been in the works for some time. After breaking through in 2015 with the upload of her first songs to Soundcloud, she has put out a steady stream of successful singles and made her first dent in the US market.

Effortlessly beautiful, a sort of compelling confidence oozes from Mabel's soulful vocals. ‘High Expectations’ is an empowered creation that features flashes of brilliance, from party anthem Bad Behaviour to the morning-after, mournful Trouble.

Mabel has the chops to create relatable music for every mood and lyrically is able to meld several strands with some finesse, discussing her troubles with anxiety and depression alongside an unadulterated appetite for after-parties and passion.

However, Put Your Name On It downplays her potential. Here, the production is unambitious and the track stands out as all filler, no killer. Where solid gold releases such as Don't Call Me Up have top 10 written all over them, it’s a shame that OK (Anxiety Anthem) isn’t up to carrying its thematic load in a musical sense.

Working with MNEK on the track, the soaring crescendos do not match her soft, self-care sentiments. I Belong To Me works more effectively at conveying insecurity and struggle, skipping any possible moments of cliche. Sung from an internal battle with the self, deliberating a challenging breakup, Mabel's rich, soothing voice is spotlighted in all its pure, stripped-back glory. 'High Expectations' might have benefited from more moments like this.

Every feature on Mabel seems to open with reference to her mother, Neneh Cherry, her step uncle Eagle Eye Cherry and step grandfather Don Cherry, and the accompanying impressive musical heritage. However, the originality of Mabel's music feels more progressive than her past. She is creating current, modern music, inspired by her mates and London, written and produced from a genuine place.

There are glimpses of arena-filling potential here. Focusing on her punchy, provocative persona would have strengthened the aesthetic of the album considerably, however her pop writing talents are already close to unrivalled among her peers.

Mabel Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue November 19 2019 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Riverside
Mon November 25 2019 - BRISTOL Fleece
Tue November 26 2019 - LONDON Dome
Thu November 28 2019 - LIVERPOOL Hangar 34
Tue January 28 2020 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Wed January 29 2020 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Thu January 30 2020 - BELFAST Ulster Hall Belfast
Sat February 01 2020 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Sun February 02 2020 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Tue February 04 2020 - LIVERPOOL O2 Academy Liverpool
Wed February 05 2020 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Fri February 07 2020 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Sat February 08 2020 - NORWICH Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA
Sun February 09 2020 - SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall Southampton
Tue February 11 2020 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Wed February 12 2020 - LONDON Eventim Apollo

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

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