KATY B returns with her second solo album, Little Red. Already having made a dent with the recent single ‘5am’ and forthcoming single ‘Crying For No Reason’, she has gained momentum and is poised to launch this opus on the world.
Kicking off with ‘The Next Thing’, her vocals sound more mature than on previous efforts like ‘Katy On A Mission‘. There is more of a dance element to this set of tracks; seemingly her work with Magnetic Man had an early influence. An early highlight is her duet with Jesse Ware on the track ‘Aaliyah’. Ware actually gives Katy a run for her money with the vocal talents she displays, as her more subtle, hushed tones give the track a nice soulful edge.
New single ‘Crying for No Reason’ does start a little East 17-ish, but soon takes off into a funky dance monster. The days of On A Mission seem far behind her now. Far more production has gone into this record, and it sounds better for it. Katy’s vocals shine bright in the mix throughout the record, the occasional delicate melody, through to the multi-layered harmonies and big choruses begin to really show how she has matured. Her songwriting in particular has also developed, as showcased in ‘All My Lovin’ to great effect.
This album certainly grows on you, and could be a good party/summer album, especially one that gets played getting ready for a night out. There are some great beats and dance tracks like ‘Everything’ that you can’t help but dance around to. Of the guest vocalists, Sampha, who duets on the track ‘Play’, offers a deeper, soulful vocal to contrast against Katy’s. ‘Sapphire Blue’ and ‘Emotions’ see Katy romancing us with her voice, sounding sultry and very soulful against some chilled and almost romantic beats. There is a lot of sincerity and emotion in her voice on both of these tracks. It’s easy to forget that she is a graduate of the Brit School, but then linking the soul inside her to other graduates such as Adele and Katie Melua, you can see that they have learned their craft well.
Overall this is a well-crafted album, and a great follow on from her extraordinary debut. Katy B has matured and become more soulful, it’s as if the brief was to feel more relaxed and do what she wants. In doing this she sounds so much more confident. This might not win her new fans in droves, but it will certainly satisfy the fan base and remind people exactly who she is: one of Britain’s great young talents. It will be even better to see how this translates into live performance on her forthcoming tour, and expected festival dates over the summer.
Katy B – Crying For No Reason