x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Maya Jane Coles makes a solid debut with Comfort

The singer's self-produced debut album bypasses upfront club-friendly beats in favour of muted electronica with soulful torch-song vocals.

Maya Jane Coles

Comfort

(I Am Me)

***

The London-based DJ and producer Maya Jane Coles has enjoyed fast-track fame in recent years, winning acclaim and awards in dance music genres from house to trip-hop to dubstep. She has also remixed some big names including Massive Attack, Gorillaz and The xx.

Her self-produced debut album bypasses upfront club-friendly beats in favour of muted electronica with soulful torch-song vocals. Coles sings several tracks herself, her voice a sweet sigh on the gently glitchy Easier to Hide and the slinky escapist electro-fantasy Dreamer.

Guest singers also figure heavily, though the chemistry sometimes misfires. Fall From Grace, with a vocal by the Alpines singer Catherine Pockson, and When I'm In Love, which features Thomas Knights, are both forgettably anodyne.

Fortunately, Nadine Shah's powerful roar lends a compelling emotional wallop to the low-slung twangs of Blame, while the rapper Tricky rolls out his smoke-damaged rasp over the sensual machine groove of Wait for You.

A little too tasteful and underpowered in places, Comfort is still an impressively solid debut from a rising star.

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