Michael Kiwanuka is back with his second album, Love & Hate. Similarly to the title, the tracks address significantly important issues; despite positivity running throughout.
‘Cold Little Heart’ reflects the meaning of the album, starting with thrilling guitar work along with its complimenting piano chords, setting the tone for the rest of the album. An orchestral sound is produced in line to hushed yet choir esque vocals. This track is prolonged and progressively becomes more chilled with the involvement of tranquil backing vocals before Michael Kiwanuka introduces his extremely earthy voice, addressing issues of life as a ‘Black Man In A White World’ – just what the the second track of the album is named.
Within the second track, the earthy elements in the prior song are highlighted once again; the track opens the number with purely his voice and simultaneous claps. Strings make another appearance in this track but in a cheerier fashion.
Melancholy vocals and hushed instrumental open up the track ‘Falling’. Deep riffs are used despite the hushes of the track, which progressively ends on a huge elongated, yet smooth and satisfying end.
Despite the lingering impressive orchestra behind Michael Kiwanuka’s voice, ‘Place I Belong’ has much more focus on the actual vocals, which are simply incredible. Instrumental sees a crescendo, bringing more attention to itself once Michael Kiwanuka’s vocals fade out. On the title track light vocals are present, which are soon uplifted once Kiwanuka begins increasing his involvement. Strong messages within the lyrics still remain, such as: “you can’t take me down”. Becoming more orchestral again towards the bridge of the song, the light vocals present at the beginning are continued throughout.
‘One More Night’ is the repetitive yet catchy tune with a riveting, trumpet involved chorus. Distorted vocals and church organs add to the effect, which collectively fuse the track together. These organ tones are noted within the next track ‘I’ll Never Love’, acting towards a much more sad tone in comparison, along with ‘Rule the World’ and ‘Father’s Child’.
‘The Final Frame’ brings the album to it’s end, contrasting it’s extremely electric, raw, still slow riffs, summing the album up nicely. With an album filled with talent and such a strong message, Michael Kiwanuka is on track to match his track ‘Home Again’ with almost 26 million listens on Spotify alone, along with his number 1 debut UK album. Astounding.
Love & Hate is out now via Polydor Records.