Search
Get a personalised letter from Santa

Album review: Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 August 2016

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

Archant

In the notoriously fickle world of pop, careers can easily be forged and destroyed inside a helluva lot less than four years (2012 chart-toppers Sam And The Womp, anyone?).

Yet despite the critical praise heaped on north Londoner Kiwanuka that same year for his debut Home Again, the young man has kept his head and waited til he’s good and ready to tell the next chapter. And boy, is it good.

Where his debut, while beautiful and soulful, was arguably a little flat and steadfastly ‘old soul’, Love & Hate rings the changes while keeping all that was good – including a voice that treads the tightrope between vulnerability and gritty soul.

Confidently opening with the 10-minute Cold Little Heart, he doesn’t utter a word for five minutes, unleashing a psychedelic swirl and heave of electric guitar and gospel(ish) vocals, before a beautifully downbeat but epic ballad unfurls.

Snappy handclaps herald Black Man In A White World, the album’s ‘70s soul-pop centerpiece. Kiwanuka channels a stark political message, strutting rhythm, strings and gospel-style backing singers for an arresting, addictive highlight Curtis Mayfield would be proud of.

Other facets of Kiwanuka’s canon are showcased in the dusky snap of One More Night, which borrows and runs with The Black Keys’ latest poppy blues aesthetic.

The link is Danger Mouse, who sat in the producer’s chair for the duo’s Turn Blue as well, and here ensures there’s a pleasing space around the instruments in the lounge-y soul of Place I Belong.

The title track updates Home Again’s careworn soul with an earworm backing vocal motif and a defiant statement of inner resilience that is truly uplifting, while Father’s Child – another mini-opus that stretches quivering strings, gospel vocals and soaring guitar noodles across seven minutes – exudes genuine ennui.

Love & Hate is pretty epic – an album worth the wait.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Second in the series is a mid-franchise muddle of convoluted back stories with some stunning sequences

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tips on where to stay and what to eat in Dublin courtesy of our travel writer, Sophie Ritchie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When Alice Frick began telling jokes in comedy clubs across Austria and Germany, organisers paid little attention to her material. Instead, they suggested wearing a dress, high heels and “doing a little twirl after you’ve finished your set.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

As Americans everywhere prepare for a turkey feast with extra helpings of pumpkin pie, we’ve been out finding five of the best places for Thanksgiving this side of the Atlantic.

Promoted Content

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now