Katy B – Little Red
A whopping 17 tracks on this, the second album from the Brit School graduate, offers value but, as is increasingly the case with major label releases, puts quantity before quality. Coming three years after refreshing debut On a Mission, an extended running time contributes to a certain lack of spark and misses the genre-crossing exploration that suggested Kathleen Brien had identity beyond the 'feat. Katy B' credits that had kick-started her career.
Take the shears to Little Red and there’s a wily mix of beats (Next Thing) and smart pop (Blue Eyes) elbowing their way to the front. But it’s the more by-number moments (the predictable balladry of Tumbling Down and Emotions) that weaken the whole. That voice, its earthy burr becoming oddly reminiscent of Rihanna, is a marvel. It’s just a shame the material doesn’t do it justice more consistently than here. [Gary Kaill]