‘Sing To The Moon’, Laura Mvula’s debut LP, had some great touches, but was swamped by overzealous production. The same applies to follow-up ‘The Dreaming Room’. Her background in gospel and as a conservatoire graduate define her; you’re never too far from a rousing vocal crescendo or a chord change that’s at pains to show how sophisticated it is.
Sometimes this approach pays dividends; the unexpected Wretch 32 guest verse that transforms ‘People’ is a case in point. However, Mvula usually shoots for transcendent, and misses. She also sucks the fun out of a Nile Rodgers guest spot, as the crowded arrangements of ‘Overcome’ demonstrate.
‘The Dreaming Room’ is an enormously frustrating record, as Mvula clearly has it in her to be an incredible artist. But at this point in her career, she remains a orchestra in need of a conductor.
Words: Joe Rivers
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