Home Again 3/5 It wouldn’t be mean or inaccurate to suggest that a better title for the London soul singer’s debut might be ‘10 Songs to Choose as the First Dance at Your Wedding’. Try listening to the gentle doo-wop of ‘Bones’, for example, without picturing a bride and groom attempting a slow dance surrounded by a sea of camera phones. Impossible.
While Kiwanuka may have the nuptial market sewn up, assessing his broader appeal depends on how much one values originality. Loveliness abounds, but it’s the sound of Glen Campbell in 1968, Nick Drake in 1972, or Shuggie Otis in 1974 that dominates. And yet, while Kiwanuka and producer Paul Butler might be impressionists, they show considerable flair. With drums low in the mix, ‘Home Again’ is brimming with pastoral strings and softly rising brass, topped off by Kiwanuka’s weary and weathered voice. It’s an amiable, even quite beautiful record at points. But the only way it will define 2012 will be by how many people get hitched to it.