Before I go any further let’s put this out there, the first seven tracks of this album are absolutely perfect.
From the thumping sub and deep grooves of opener ‘The Next Thing’ to the joyful realisation of ‘Crying For No Reason’ being a ballad that is actually worth listening to, and then some, although what comes after is somewhat open for debate.
‘Little Red’ goes further to show that Katy B is not just a one album novelty, and why should she be? Prior to the release of her debut in 2011 she’d been doing the nightclub circuits as a guest vocalist trifling in UK garage, dub-step, funky house and R&B. ‘On A Mission’ experimented all of that and earned its Mercury Prize nomination unquestionably.
The new record more or less carries on in that vein. There’s been talk beforehand that maturity surrounded this album. But thankfully they must have been talking about Katy herself, not her music. Her sophomore effort is every bit as lively as her debut was, for the most part at least. It’s be a brave man to bet against ‘5AM’ being one of, if not the best pop track from the latter part of last year. That said, pop is a lazy word to tar ‘Little Red’ with. Production on the 12 track album has been handled by the likes of regular collaborator Geeneus alongside Joker, Route 94, Artwork & others. As a result the record skirts nicely alone the genres you’d associate with those names.
In its best moments Little Red is devilishly simple, ‘I Like You’ is a killer hook and punchy verses stacked on top of a belter of a beat. In these moments it is also unmistakably Katy B, these are songs that no-one else could create. In its lesser moments it is still a solid effort, ‘Play, ft Sampha’ is a sultry effort but sadly could have easily been a Jessie Ware track and there are a few other numbers that lack identity when measured up against its monstrous predecessors.
Make no mistake about it, Little Red will come dangerously close to propelling Katy B to super-stardom but if it falls short at all, don’t worry, she’s here for the long haul.
Little Red is out now.