Warp • 2023

The pleasant memory of a record can obviously hide the fact that it is no longer the most recent release. This is what happened with Kelela’s début album »Take Me Apart«, which is now six years old. A remix album and a mixtape with Asmara have been released since then, but »Raven« is only Kelela’s second »real« album. A few things have changed: Her R&B style flows more calmly than in the past, sometimes even letting the basses vibrate deeply. Her singing is also more fragile, but that impression may also be due to the production that surrounds her. But the omnipresent idea of healing has also found its way into her work. Fortunately, this is not reflected in more esoteric sound arrangements, but merely in the more restrained pace. She has interspersed a few numbers with a clever dramaturgy that will be more interesting for the club scene, such as the classic break-driven »Contact« or the no-nonsense »Bruises«. They don’t get out of line, but simply remind us that Kelela’s music can release pockets of energy when needed, despite the introspection that dominates this time around. Whether the result will make as many waves as the first album remains to be seen. »Raven« deserves it.