It’s probably easier for someone who became a new parent over lockdown than most others to conjure up a title like ‘And Then Life Was Beautiful’. But what NAO - who gave birth to her daughter in Spring 2020 - does a very good job at across this, her third full-length, is imbuing the whole thing with that same sense of positivity as its name. Take ‘Woman’, a funky collaboration with Lianne La Havas. Or ‘Burn Out’, a track which tackles the stasis associated with the condition impeccably lyrically, but still holds hope musically. The serpentwithfeet-featuring ‘Postcards’ is as slinky as it comes, meanwhile, and then there’s the earwormy ‘Glad That You’re Gone’, somehow a wholly positive break-up song without hints of irony or bitterness. And if ‘And Then Life Was Beautiful’ wasn’t the radiant, joyous record that it is, then that alone would be an achievement, surely?
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