Kelela - 'Raven'

8/10

After originally establishing herself with her groundbreaking debut LP 'Take Me Apart' in 2017, Kelela found herself as a forward-thinking artist ready to revive the warm and embracing club sound that dominated her early childhood. But besides the remix collections that arrived in the wake of her initial offering, she seemed to slip away from the limelight, giving the impression she was either fulfilled in her ambitions or working confidently on something more fascinating. Thankfully it was the latter as she now returns with her eagerly-awaited sophomore studio album 'Raven', a record that continues her dynamic direction.

Throughout 'Take Me Apart', we were treated to a fresh yet nostalgic take on modern club-focused R&B aesthetics, cementing her intentions towards something entirely connected to her own personal story. And for 'Raven' it remains more of the same, but with a strength and confidence that can only come with time and patience. Amongst this new collection we hear a rich and inventive Kelela at the helm as she moves effortlessly between harder production and more sombre textures to deliver a truly mesmerising new full-length.

While her first record brought an elevation to her sound, 'Raven' is more about building on those strong and vibrant foundations. Brimming with fresh and exciting ideas from start to finish, she has returned in her most progressive guise to date.

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