Filed Under:

Laura Mvula's Velvet 'Moon' Is A Revelation

Play associated audio

The very first notes on Laura Mvula's new album feel like a powerful invocation. You're not sure for what, but the moment is awesome — with an emphasis on awe.

On paper, Sing to the Moon may seem like yet another album by a young, big-throated British singer, but it sounds like practically nothing else out there. It's not exactly pop or soul or jazz; it's all those things, yet it transcends those things. Over the course of the album, you might be swept into the intimacy of an after-hours speakeasy ("Father, Father"), thrust onto the stage of an old-time cabaret ("Make Me Lovely") or clapping along at a Manchester all-nighter ("Green Garden").

The album's baroque, velvet textures and atmospheric ambiance perfectly complement the lush, smoky curls of Mvula's voice. But even more mesmerizing is the way this former choir director sublimely weaves her band mates' voices with her own, helping to make seven people sound like 70.

Perhaps befitting a songwriter in her mid-20s, Mvula mostly probes the complexities of love sought, fought, won and lost. But she wraps these familiar themes with enough mystery and metaphor to make Sing to the Moon feel deeply romantic while avoiding the boilerplate cliches of dime-store romances.

Very little on Sing to the Moon sounds like it's overtly designed for commercial appeal; there are no over-the-top diva ballads or fist-pumping club beats. Instead, Mvula and her group produce a debut that's ambitiously distinct and confident, as if they'd perfected their sound years ago but only now decided to share it with everyone else. What begins like an invocation ends up feeling like a revelation.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Military Veterans Take On Zombies In 'Range 15'

Range 15 is a new zombie movie made by war veterans for veterans. It's a dark comedy with a cast that includes a Navy Cross recipient, amputees and William Shatner.
NPR

Chef Eddie Huang On Cultural Identity And 'Intestine Sticky Rice Hot Dog'

Huang and his brothers, Evan and Emery, headed to China to reconnect with their culture, to eat lots and lots of food — and to cook. He's documented his travels in his new book, Double Cup Love.
NPR

Family of Kate Steinle File Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The suit alleges San Francisco's "sanctuary city" immigration policies led to Steinle's death, allegedly at the hands of a man in the U.S. illegally.
NPR

North Korea Linked To $81 Million Bangladesh Bank Heist

Experts say code used by hackers in recent attacks on banks appears to be the same as code used in an attack on Sony Pictures which the FBI says was carried out by North Korea.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.