Albums: New music from St Vincent, Paul Weller, Sons of Kemet and Jorja Smith

St Vincent's album Daddy's Home
St Vincent's album Daddy's Home


IF ST Vincent is a new-age David Bowie, then Daddy's Home is surely her Young Americans – and not just because of the gospel-soul backing vocals and new-found penchant for oversized shirt collars.

The real muse for Daddy's Home, though, is signalled by the album's tongue-in-cheek title: Clark's father went to prison in 2010 for his role in a stock manipulation scheme, something she understandably kept close to her chest until the media dug it up around five years ago.

His release in 2019 has prompted a collection of songs inspired by the 1970s New York record collection he brought her up on, together serving as a surprisingly warm study of the seedier side of city life.

St Vincent's sixth record may not bear the mind-bending explorations that have brought her so much adulation to date – instead, it focuses on an artist who seems more at peace with her own story than ever before.

Rating: 3/5

Stephen Jones


SHABAKA Hutchings and co return with a second album of expansive, conceptual jazz.

Your Queen Is A Reptile, their Mercury Prize-nominated 2018 album, referred to and paid tribute to influential black women throughout history.

Things get more expansive here, with the core group bulked out by guests including poet Moor Mother and grime veteran D Double E among others.

Hutchings says the album "depicts a movement to redefine and reaffirm what it means to strive for black power" and if read in sequence the tracklisting literally reads as a call to arms.

Highlights include the undulating, crescendoing album closer Black featuring musician and poet Joshua Idehen, and For The Culture featuring the aforementioned D Double E, a surprising but fruitful marriage.

Musically, Sons Of Kemet are working at their peak and Hutchings' vision of empowerment only elevates them further.

Rating: 4/5

Alex Green


IT SEEMS The Modfather has finally managed to reconcile his rockier side with his more experimental impulses.

Last year's chart-topping On Sunset may have been released during lockdown but it was mainly recorded before. Fat Pop is Weller's first lockdown album proper, formulated over the internet from a jumble of song ideas stored on his phone. Its 12 tracks are a perfect synthesis of his recent years.

Cosmic Fringes introduces the album as a spiky, antagonistic listen, Weller's voice cracking as he mines Britpop for inspiration.

Shades Of Blue is music hall psychedelia to make The Kinks proud, while later tracks Moving Canvas and The Pleasure dive deep into Motown and Salsoul disco.

In the past, Weller has struggled to appease both his more traditional fan base and those looking for something a little more left-field.

Fat Pop sounds like he has finally found a middle ground.

Rating: 4/5

Alex Green


JORJA Smith has stayed busy since her 2018 debut Lost And Found. A handful of non-album singles have been bolstered by collaborations with the likes of Drake, Giggs and Burna Boy.

Be Right Back is the West Midlands-raised talent's first "proper" project in three years.

Despite stretching to eight tracks, this is not an album but a "waiting room to the album", whatever that means.

Nevertheless, Be Right Back sounds like a full-bodied work. It hits some of the same notes as Lost And Found: sensuous, soulful, deeply engrossing musically.

But this mini-album excels on glossier, deeply produced tracks such as opener Addicted, in which Smith longs for her lover's undivided attention, and closer Weekend, a dramatic and propulsive song about self-doubt.

Lush strings lift her voice, but Smith also shines on the bassier song Bussdown featuring rapper Shaybo, riding a heavy beat and half-rapping.

Bring on the proper album, I say.

Rating: 3/5

Alex Green