Since bursting onto the cultural landscape in 2013, Laura Mvula has become one of the UK’s finest exports. From her Mercury Prize nomination and MOBO wins to her BRIT Awards, Q Awards and Ivor Novello nods, she has found herself at the forefront of the current soul revival.
In June she released the follow up to ‘Sing To The Moon’, the amazing ‘The Dreaming Room’ an album often resembling pop music made by someone who has almost no idea or interest in what pop is supposed to sound like. Its song structures are episodic, circuitously odd. Its arrangements have a WTF? quality. There are curious offcentre drums, almost aggressive explosions of vocal harmonies; Angel shifts from massed acapella – treated with a vocoderlike effect that gives it the feel of a mid70s radio jingle – to a vaguely countryish guitar figure and then to a baroque harpsichord backing in the space of three minutes. Yet The Dreaming Room never feels selfconscious or jarring; it’s less like the work of someone showily disregarding the rules than an artist who never bothered to learn them in the first place.