Brittany Howard - 'What Now'

8/10

When she first broke away from her formative group Alabama Shakes to release her breakthrough debut LP 'Jaime' in 2019, it was clear that Brittany Howard was a talent deserving of the spotlight all to herself. Branching out from the blues-rock grooves of her initial outfit in exploration of a more intimate and soulful sound, she quickly established herself as one of the more progressive names to arrive that year. And after an extended break from releasing new music, she has now returned with her long-awaited sophomore album 'What Now', a record that looks to continue those captivating ideals.

Right from the very start, 'What Now' looks to spread its creative wings further than 'Jaime'. While her first full-length brought a warmth and heartfelt texture to her work, Brittany Howard is heading in a more diverse direction this time around, delivering something that looks to explore a wider range of ideas and aesthetics. Still very much held together by her enchanting vocal performance, her newest offering is a broad and tantalising progression from her original material, giving us a more layered feel throughout.

It may not have the same initial impact that 'Jaime' managed to create, but 'What Now' still stands as a powerfully rich and emotive listen. Brimming with vibrancy and an immersive edge at every turn, Brittany Howard still maintains her reputation for wondrous and enigmatic songwriting once again.

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