Michael Kiwanuka continues the folk-soul tradition of Bill Withers and Terry Callier on this debut album. Sensitively produced by The Bees' Paul Butler, it's a pleasant enough handful of easy-going songs, in which the focus on warmth has left them lacking bite.
Despite the horn stabs on "Tell Me a Tale", which recall Fela Kuti at his most triumphal, Kiwanuka's own presence seems passive; and his baritone croon, amid the wisps of flute, strings and electric sitar in "I'll Get Along", is always more a matter of inflection than emotion. His songs, too, offer only the vaguest sense of stress, as suggested by titles like "Rest", "Home Again" and "Any Day Will Do Fine". But the warmth of that voice is undeniably beguiling, and Butler's productions – particularly the blend of jazz, reggae and gospel in "Bones" – bring a fine-grained texture to the songs.
DOWNLOAD THIS Bones; Tell Me a Tale; I Won't Lie