Album Review: Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

28 October 2019 | 11:29 am | Tobias Handke

"[O]ld school soul music for modern audiences."

More Michael Kiwanuka More Michael Kiwanuka

British favourite Michael Kiwanuka is back bigger and better with third album Kiwanuka, a wonderful showcase of the singer-songwriter’s worldly brand of soulful, rock-inspired indie music. Once again recruiting Danger Mouse and Inflo on production, Kiwanuka has said this album is “about self-acceptance in a more triumphant rather than melancholy way”, and it’s hard to disagree.

There’s a strong feeling of love and joy running throughout Kiwanuka, with album opener and first single You Ain’t The Problem setting the scene with its brassy celebration of acceptance. 

The intro to Piano Joint (This Kind Of Love) kicks off with a touch over two minutes of piano, female harmonies and soulful vocals that feels like it’s building towards an impactful crescendo, before turning into R&B-flavoured ballad. Living In Denial makes use of soothing harmonies over probing percussion and harks back to the era of Kiwanuka’s heroes, while Hard To Say Goodbye is seven minutes of bluesy guitars with Kiwanuka’s sultry vocals front and centre.

Kiwanuka makes old school soul music for modern audiences and has once again crafted a personal album oozing with '60s rock and soul.