Frank Ocean – Blonde review

Frank Ocean - Blonde promo art 1 (1200x675)The curse of the difficult-second-album hangs over Frank Ocean’s Blonde like an unforgiving spectre. As if following up his critically acclaimed debut, Channel Orange, wasn’t hard enough already: there was the endless rumours, the delays and the never-ending storm of desire and derision on social media. No wonder Ocean prefers to keep himself to himself these days.

For better and worse, Ocean’s second album is the product of personal struggle under the weight of intense expectation. It doesn’t reach the dizzying perfection of his 2012 debut, but it is a profound listen nonetheless. Continue reading

Nao – For All We Know review

Nao - Fool to Love artwork (1920x1080)Nao’s For All We Know is a delight and, initially, a struggle. The struggle comes from everything around it: the hype, the hit-and-miss descriptors and the unwieldy presumption that singer Nao – real name Neo Joshua – may as well be a FKA Twigs double. The delight comes from pushing past that to hear her gorgeous vocals and the weird musical formation that back her on this nostalgic future. Continue reading