Katy B had many of us bottle-popping and hip-shaking along to her wavy, 90s-style house and garage when she dropped her Mercury-nominated debut album, On a Mission, in 2011. The making of her last album, Little Red, was an ordeal in and of itself, judging by comments at the time. By comparison, her latest album is a tantalising gift to her dance music following.
The premise for Honey is straightforward: Katy got together with a who’s who of producers and guest singers, and magic ensued. That’s a reductive statement, of course, but you get the idea. There are productions here from Kaytranada (‘Honey’), JD Reid (‘Chase Me’), Four Tet and Floating Points (‘Calm Down’), and Hannah Wants (‘Dreamers’) to name but a few. They range from fast-paced, reggae-inspired pop (‘So Far Away’) to brooding electronica (‘Water Rising’). The vocalists, meanwhile, include the likes of Sasha Keable, D Double E and Craig David.
The sullen mood of Major Lazer-produced ‘Who Am I’ is outshone by the peppery energy of tracks such as ‘Chase Me’, ‘Dark Delirium’ and ‘I Wanna Be’: tracks where Katy isn’t attempting Mariah Carey-like ballads, but, rather, the sassy sweetness found on her earlier songs, ‘Why You Always Here’ and ‘Perfect Stranger’.
There is a strong feeling of Honey being more of a pick ‘n’ mix for the Spotify era than a collection of music you’ll want to listen to from start to finish. Naturally, dance music is well suited to such a purpose, but this album doesn’t quite have the laser-sharp precision of, say, Disclosure’s Settle or Katy’s own debut. Still, the pop hooks and rhythms on Honey make it a solid third effort by the UK’s duchess of dance music.
Honey is out now Rinse/Virgin EMI Records.
Image: Rinse/Virgin EMI