‘Take Flight’ bears much of the personality of Maya Jane Cole’s ‘Comfort’ of 2013, but it’s a hard look for the critic’s choice to maintain for the best part of two hours. Dressed in a dubby, baggy ‘90s style of dance music and dusky off-pop — while not quite an outlet of melancholy, it’s like a campfire circle with everyone’s back to one another. It’s only when the Londoner puts her foot down and breaks the album’s bubble that ‘Take Flight’ begins to elevate.
Though ‘Bo & Wing’ has a rustic touch of ‘What They Say’ to it — and look at how that took off thanks to Drake and Nicki Minaj — a shrug of a groove traipses into trip hop territory, despite an ice-tipped vocal seeing right through you evoking, well, all your favourite alt-dance ice queens, and reaching out to Chelou as a pop taskmaster entering the ‘Darkside’. Slow and steady wins the race as house shuffles its way through semi-mystic/tribal strands of the Orient. Feeding on morsels of post dubstep/dark 2-step (‘Let You Go’, ‘Chasing Sunshine’), it’s not without intrigue. Drawing a certain pensive magnetism by keeping its head above and below the parapet, Coles inches her way under your skin without withdrawing the standoffish pose.
More reactive is ‘A Chemical Affair’, mirroring the skies giving off an attractive yet ominous glow — Balearic, but keeping enemies as close as friends. ‘Keep Me Warm’ lets off some calculated electro spears with an appearance from Gaps, and ‘Won’t Let You Down’ enhances the album’s stringency and sensibility in loops and lo-fi: fine deep house looking for an escape route. A mid-album mini surge of sorts, giving greater power to the ponderous, is topped by piano houser ‘Go On and Make It Through’ and ‘Golden Days’ doing stealthy deep house with camouflage detail, with more of Coles’ threat from afar the frostiness on the cake.
As a headphone accessory it’s easy to pick up from where you left off. A solid album that despite getting into a more forward stride, does slow burner as patience tester.
Words: Matt Oliver
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