Album review: Laura Mvula has a lot to offer fans in The Dreaming Room
The Dreaming Room
Laura Mvula creates her trademark festival of vocals on The Dreaming Room. It is an ambitious album full of rhythms and drama, with some songs suitable for recital halls while others are tailor-made for the dance floor. The classically trained Mvula and drummer/producer Troy Miller get help from guitarists Nile Rodgers and John Scofield and the London Symphony Orchestra, among others, but the tunes rely most on her layers of rhythmic harmony and lyrics dwelling on life’s complexities. Overcome, written with Rodgers, and Phenomenal Woman, inspired by a Maya Angelou poem, are the dance-pop bookends with sophisticated twists. Between them are the hymn-like Show Me Love (“I miss belonging to someone”), the Christmas carol-lish Angel (“Is this where we part forever”) and Bread (“Lay the breadcrumbs down so we can find our way”), which also evokes the “one-woman choir” skills of the late Kirsty MacColl. By turns expressing both strength and vulnerability, life seems simple only when Mvula has a brief, sweet phone chat with her grandmother on Nan. Passionate yet delicate, The Dreaming Room has plenty to offer.
* Pablo Gorondi / Associated Press