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MBM (MBM0416)

Heartsick, Hunny Little Day Dream, Colour Blind, Let’s Reinvent (Love), Acceptance, To Remain The Same, I Have Arrived, Strand Of Gold, Share The Love, Hope, Soul Come Back

Malaya Blue’s debut album, Bourbon Street (MEPCD006), was one of the surprise big-sellers here at Red Lick in 2015, having come to prominence on the UK blues scene with stand-out performances at a number of key festivals before following this up with an unprecedented number of nominations at various British Blues Awards.

To build on the momentum created last year, no time has been lost in returning to the studio to deliver a follow up and the good news for fans of Bourbon Street is that this is very much the equal of her debut. All the ingredients that made last year’s album such a success are again very much in evidence here: the band is rock-solid, the all-original songs are interesting and, most of all, Malaya’s vocals are impressively rich and varied.

At turns sassy and lung-busting on the up-tempo rockers, such as the title track that opens proceedings, and vulnerable and fragile on the slower, more soulful numbers, like Colour Blind, Malaya really does give the impression that her vocal range can successfully handle anything. This is perhaps best demonstrated on a number of songs that are held together and driven forward not by a formulaic musical structure or format but by the vocal delivery and performance - a sure sign of her confidence in her abilities and command of her material.  

A fine album to sit alongside Bourbon Street. And with this voice there will be plenty more to come in the future.

Review Date: April 2016

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