Hot Press - - Albums - Out Now // Caitlyn Ste­wart

Seven years after first ap­pear­ing on rap­per Chip­munk’s track ‘Di­a­mond Ring’, Emeli Sandé is back, with her most up­lift­ing and hon­est al­bum to date. Long Live the An­gels comes after four years of dra­matic change and vault­ing suc­cess with Our Ver­sion of Events – and she sounds to­tally up for it. The al­bum pos­i­tively sparkles with eu­pho­ria.

Open­ing track ‘Se­lah’ de­liv­ers a quick, sooth­ing whole-body cleanse, to pre­pare the lis­tener for the rest of the al­bum. Quiet, cho­ral hums el­e­vate Emeli’s gen­tle voice as she re­peats the He­brew mantra, an up­lift­ing ap­proach that re­ally works. There is a link to eleventh track, ‘Sweet Ar­chi­tect’, which har­nesses the power from this mantra and builds on it.

Emeli’s vo­cals, from soar­ing Ali­cia Keys to soul­ful Nina Si­mone, map out an ad­ven­tur­ous jour­ney. Mu­si­cally, she con­structs a moun­tain range of highs and lows in both style and tempo. On the electronic sur­prise, ‘Gar­den,’ fea­tur­ing Jay Elec­tron­ica and Aine Zion, chill beats al­low the mind to bask in the pool of free­dom and pas­sion she ex­presses, “Once out­side th­ese prison walls, to be­lieve again is scary/ Your gar­den is my sanc­tu­ary,” she sings.

Run­ning with the theme of self-dis­cov­ery, the Scot­tish god­dess shares her Zam­bian back­ground in ‘Ten­derly,’ which fea­tures her fa­ther and cousin, singing about hold­ing onto fam­ily. “There’s more of us than ever,” she ob­serves. She even names her back­ing singers The Serenje Choir, after her home­town in Zam­bia.

There’s a won­der­ful feel­good as­pect to ‘This Much is True’, the penul­ti­mate track on the De Luxe edi­tion: the mood is light­ened by bright gui­tar strums and a sunny har­mon­ica, let­ting ev­ery­one know that not one emo­tion went un­no­ticed in this ex­tra­or­di­nary mu­si­cal pil­grim­age.


Long Live the An­gels (Deluxe) Vir­gin EMI Records

‘Sweet Ar­chi­tect’

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