Arts

Albums: New music from Imelda May, KSI, Sebastien Tellier and Nicole Atkins

Imelda May's new album Slip Of The Tongue marks her first foray into poetry

Imelda May

Slip of The Tongue

IMELDA May's first foray into poetry offers a variety of delights. Since starting out in 2002, she has forged a reputation for dependability. Solid songwriting and enviable musicianship – she is well-versed in many instruments including the bodhran – has made her a darling of taste-makers like Jools Holland.

May's path has been one of low-key artistry rather than pop success. It's a surprise, then, that it has taken her so long to release a collection of her poetry, set here against a variety of appropriate aural backdrops, including birdsong, ambience and gentle jazz.

These are songs May tells to her friends and family, over a dinner or a drink, in the great story-telling tradition of Ireland. As such, they are lively, evocative and extremely funny, even when she deals with themes of abuse on the tellingly titled GBH.

It's a pleasure to hear her stories come to life.

7/10
Alex Green


KSI

Dissimulation

YOUTUBE star KSI, real name Olajide 'JJ' Olatunji, has released a debut solo album that will not only cement him a few slots in the singles music charts, but also his place as a force to be reckoned with in the music world.

The album, titled Dissimulation, has popular tracks like Houdini, which features British rappers Swarmz and Tion Wayne, and has already debuted on the singles chart.

KSI (which stands for Knowledge, Strength, Integrity) has also collaborated with some other impressive names on the album, including Migos star Offset, Rick Ross and Lil Pump.

The 26-year-old doesn't hold back in his lyrics and is out to prove the naysayers wrong – a job he does well.

Having already cemented a solid social media fanbase – he has 21 million YouTube subscribers – this album is bound to earn him a lot more fans.

7/10
Kathy Iffly


Sebastien Tellier

Domesticated

SEBASTIEN Tellier competed for France in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, arriving in a golf buggy and clutching a globe filled with helium, which he inhaled from lustily, before joining five backing singers dressed to look like him in sunglasses and wigs.

He was robbed, coming 19th behind Albania and Azerbaijan, but enhanced his reputation for eccentric innovation, something his sixth studio album could do with more of. While Domesticated is tasteful and impeccably produced, there's little that's wild or untamed among the eight tracks here focusing on finding happiness in the domestic chores.

A Ballet sees washes of synths sailing on stately beats, with outbreaks of 80s yacht rock sax, before ending with tinkling piano. The Auto-Tuned Stuck In A Summer Love is slightly more urgent, while Atomic Smile is another slow jam almost overwhelmed by Auto-Tune and closer Won finishes without leaving much of a trace.

More of the audacity shown at Eurovision could have made this essential.

7/10
Matthew George


Nicole Atkins

Italian Ice

NICOLE Atkins describes Italian Ice, her fifth studio album, as "an acid trip through my record collection". She couldn't be more right.

The American songstress, from New Jersey, draws on her myriad of influences for a record that evokes her home state, as well as the soulful sound of the place it was recorded: Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama.

Here she eschews the trapping of contemporary folk and roots rock for something a little more psychedelic, steadied by the depth of her lyricism.

Like on previous records, she surrounds herself with a crew of ace musicians, from acts including Spoon, My Morning Jacket and The Bad Seeds.

Italian Ice is named after her favourite summer treat growing up in Asbury Park, as well as an alter ego she's taken on while shooting dice.

The album itself displays the same playful attitude and reflects an artist experimenting while staying true to their roots.

7/10
Alex Green

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Arts