Ambitious UK pop singer blazes a path all over the map
British soul rarely sounds this turned up. UK chart-topper Katy B’s third album is an ambitious collaborative effort featuring some of the biggest and buzziest producers around. Effortlessly moving between genres, she makes sure to put an R&B stamp on each song, keeping all the opposing styles and approaches from veering into chaos. On the album-opening title track, she unleashes a neo-soul vocal over Kaytranada’s sparkling beat. The song blends effortlessly into the more anthemic “Who AM I,” a Major Lazer-helmed reggae fusion in which B is accompanied by passionate vocals from Craig David. Later, R&B meets grime on the hypnotic earworm “Lose Your Head,” produced by the HeavyTrackerz, and B turns herself into a Nineties house vocalist on her solo version of British DJ-producer KDA’s “Turn the Music Louder (Rumble),” which was released as a single featuring B and Tinie Tempah last year. Lyrically, she works some of the same emotional territory as her reflective 2014 single “5 AM,” musing on the somber side of life in the club. On “Calm Down” featuring experimentally-minded electronic producers Four Tet and Floating Points, she muses “When are we ever gonna calm down/Know I should do but I love the sound,” over a rubber band beat. Katy B has a way to go in separating herself from the influx of R&B singers who dabble in dub, but she’s beginning to pave a path worth following.