Sampha - 'Lahai'

8/10

When he released his breakthrough debut album 'Process' in 2017, Sampha was greeted as one of the more exciting and innovative names doing the rounds. Already a household name thanks to a number of high-profile collaborations in the years prior, his initial full-length was the culmination of endless hype and buzz, eventually winning the Mercury Prize a few months later. And then it was almost complete radio silence for the foreseeable future. But now he is back to deliver his long-awaited sophomore album 'Lahai', a record that looks to revive those vibrant aesthetics once again.

For 'Process', Sampha's sound relied on two vital elements; a distinctive and adventurous production, and his own spellbinding voice. Both of which have reemerged as the hallmark of 'Lahai' as well. Largely self-produced this time around, his latest offering continues that rich and immersive ideal he has always looked to project. Branching out into more percussion-led textures that give the release an almost jazz-inspired feel throughout, he returns in masterful form, cultivating more of that same engaging direction once again.

Although seven years between albums can sometimes lead to an artist forgetting the initial ambitions of their earlier work, Sampha has picked up almost exactly where he left off here. With such a tender and forward-thinking approach to his sound, 'Lahai' is the comeback record we were all hoping for.

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