Laura Mvula: Sing to the Moon
Sing to the Moon
The title of the Arctic Monkeys’ first album comes to mind once you’ve spent any time with Laura Mvula ’s debut album: whatever people say the former schoolteacher is, that’s most certainly what she is not.
If you are going by the pre-match banter, you have likely lined Mvula up alongside Emeli Sandé & co – another female singer appealing to the widest possible audience and covering all bases from soul to pop. You think you have her sussed. You’ve probably already decided that you’re going to be hearing Sing to the Moon everywhere you go this coming summer, and you are not happy about this. And then this 20- something from Birmingham opens her mouth and starts to sing, and instantly makes those opinions look a little silly.
Like many singers, Mvula has spent time learning her trade in august establishments. She hasn’t forgotten her training in the Birmingham Conservatoire or the city’s Black Voices choir, and Sing to the Moon benefits from her canny way with ever ything from classical chants to gospel soaring to jazzy inflections. The girl can sing.
Mvula can also pen songs that put that superb voice to best use. Tracks such as She and Green Garden have the hooks and melodies to appeal to the radio listeners in the audience, but they also contain plenty of clues that Mvula isn’t content merely to follow the pack. These songs are filled with sonic ideas and harmonic notions that remind you that pop once wasn’t afraid to take chances – or to take itself seriously. As Mvula seems to recognise, you can do a lot with pop if you put your mind to it.
It’s the tracks that sound like nothing else around, such as Can’t Live Without the World , That’s Alright and the title track, which truly make this album zing. That Laura Mvula is so beguiling and bewitching at this juncture is something to cheer.
Download: Can’t Live Without the World , That’s Alright , Sing to the Moon