Album Review Kelela - Raven

A soundtrack for melancholic late-night drives through buzzing cities.

Kelela - Raven

Rich, electronic R&B paints a vivid, prophetic image of self-assertion on ‘Raven’, Kelela’s second record seeing her journey through an afrofuturist metropolis. Where debut ‘Take Me Apart’ conjured emotional dystopia, ‘Raven’ displays utopian clarity. Her staple melancholia remains, though. On the sanguine, liquidy ‘On The Run’, she refuses to chase anymore, while the nu jazz of ‘Let It Go’ sees the singer release herself from said chains over a flirtatious bassline. The record notably embraces dance and drum and bass to express this evolution: an experimentation that is effortlessly smooth, melodic and airy. Sirens blaze over clubby beats and sultry vocals on ‘Happy Ending’, allowing Kelela to lay her cards on the table. Later, it’s ravenous with its approach: erratic drum and bass evokes a transcendent liveliness, as heard on the excitable ‘Missed Call’. At other moments, it’s perfectly restrained and alien: ‘Raven’ boasts an infectious, controlled otherworldliness, like on the saccharine and sticky ‘Sorbet’. A five-year hiatus means ‘Raven’ is a statement record, empowered by its carving of a new niche, and it’s cleverly written and produced too, with motifs (both sonic and lyrical) seeping from one track to the other. In all, this makes ‘Raven’ completely alluring, and offers a soundtrack for melancholic late-night drives through buzzing cities.

Tags: Kelela, Reviews, Album Reviews

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