- More than two years since the BBC tipped him as the future of British music – and almost two-and-a-half years since his first MOBO win – Michael “Stormzy” Omari finally unveils his full-length debut. Thrillingly, the South London MC uses Gang Signs & Prayer to showcase his impressive range, which extends way beyond grime to take in everything from soulful balladry (‘Blinded By Your Grace, Pt.1’) and breezy R&B duets (‘Cigarettes and Cush’ featuring Kehlani) to epic, Purple Rain-inspired gospel (‘Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2). Of course, it’s the quick-witted aggression of ‘Big For Your Boots’, ‘Mr Skeng’ and ‘Return Of The Rucksack’ that long-time fans will flock to first, but Gang Signs & Prayers is proof that Omari is unafraid to publically explore his emotional depths.
- “I don’t know why you abandoned me, you were my soul and my partner...” The tone is set for the follow-up to Swing Lo Magellan within the first 20 seconds of ‘Keep Your Name’. Written following the departure of his creative and romantic partner Amber Coffman, David Longstreth’s seventh album under the Dirty Projectors moniker rakes over the details of the affair, from their very first meeting (‘Up In Hudson’) to the relationship’s devastating demise (‘Death Spiral’). It’s credit to Longstreth’s boundless imagination and skillful execution that this is a break-up album that never once feels maudlin or self-indulgent, and filling the space where Coffman’s astonishing tones once were are an array of inventive vocal loops and effects, plus a cameo from Dawn Richard on album stand-out ‘Cool Your Heart’.