STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 88383-16338 LABEL: EMI CDVX3069 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Following the untimely death of her husband and fellow musician Jason Rae in 2008, Leeds-born singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae disappeared from the scene to seek healing and fresh focus. Now this most talented of R&B-cum-jazz vocalists has returned with the eagerly awaited followup to her eponymous 2006 hit debut. Although not all of the songs here were written after her husband's death, Rae has moved away from the breezy pop of album number one to produce a gritty and haunting album. Whilst this obvious shift in mood represents something of a commercial gamble, one gets the feeling that Rae in herself has had no choice and the understandably downbeat ode to her husband "You Are Here" and the Billie Holiday influenced "I'd Do It All Again" set the tone for an album of contemplative melancholy. Musically, this is very much a stripped down affair and Rae references the early analogue style of her teenage obsession Lenny Kravitz in numbers such as the stunning "The Blackest Lily" and "Closer" which showcase one of the greatest female voices out there today. The final two songs - "Diving For Hearts" and the title track - document most blatantly Rae's emotions concerning her personal loss and will arguably be what this release is remembered for. Whilst Rae refrains from direct references to her faith, the former's achingly honest lyrics seem to call out to an unspecified being ("Show me how to find it again/If I'm lost, show me where you are") whilst expressing hope for the future. Only the somewhat misplaced sunny nature of "Paris Nights/New York Mornings" doesn't quite hit the mark in this otherwise wonderfully mature and absorbing release.
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