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Album review: Kelis - Food

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With her sixth studio album Kelis has left most of the pop and dance elements from 2010’s Flesh Tone, behind.

Kelis - Food

She instead opts for classic soul, gospel and funk flavours on an album full of lush orchestration with gorgeous soaring strings and tight brass arrangements complimenting the singer’s husky vocals.

With TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek on production duties and released by legendary independent label Ninja Tune, this was bound to be interesting.

Opener ‘Breakfast’, at first seems to have the same style as Macklemore’s ‘Thriftshop’, but this is so much more than a novelty track.

The huge gospel chorus (“This is the real thing, the real thing about us, welcome to the world”) chanted by Kelis and a choir of vocal layers give this infinite power and strength. The song builds and builds until you reach the final joyous chorus complete with brass counter melodies and choir backing, and from that moment onwards Food goes from strength to strength.

Lead single ‘Jerk Ribs’ takes a funk influence, with intricate syncopated rhythms, a percussive drive that pushes the track forward and fanfare style riffs from the horn section. This was the track Kelis used to tease the record, and has been available for a free download from her website for almost a year now, showing how long Food has been in the making.

‘Floyd’ is a gritty soulful ballad, with dirty brass lines and tight vocal harmonies.

It’s also worth noting the albums only cover, ‘Bless The Telephone’. This is the most relaxed song on the album, a cover of the 70s track by folk artist Labi Siffre, Kelis reimagines the track as a duet, with guest Sal Masekela. The cover doesn’t seem out of place as might be expected of it, the lack of production and simple instrumentation (just two vocal lines and an acoustic guitar) showcase the two singers voices, and offers a breather from the beautiful yet huge production of the album.

Food is a triumph. A brave departure for Kelis, but it’s arguably her strongest offering yet, showing how diverse an artist she is.

Originally published on The Edge




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