The “other Adele” ti­dies up her per­sonal life on sec­ond LP.

THE “OTHER” ADELE RE­TURNS WITH AN­GUISHED, IN­TENSE SEC­OND LP.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

EMELI SANDÉ LONG LIVE THE AN­GELS UNI­VER­SAL, OUT NOW

It’s taken four years for Emeli Sandé to re­lease the fol­low-up to her de­but Our Ver­sion Of Events – four years in which, it ap­pears, she has strug­gled with all the pres­sures and emo­tional strains that so of­ten ac­com­pany mas­sive suc­cess. It feels sig­nif­i­cant, then, that Long Live The An­gels should start with two songs us­ing im­ages of ges­ta­tion and birth to sug­gest new be­gin­nings, the Ul­tra­light Beam-style gospel of Se­lah and the Morcheeba-soft drowse of Breath­ing Un­der­wa­ter, which declares, “I be­lieve in mir­a­cles/ Be­cause it’s a mir­a­cle I’m here.” Sandé’s sec­ond al­bum doesn’t al­ways sound quite so rev­e­la­tory: an­guished in­ten­sity of­ten masks a lack of mu­si­cal spark, the draggy acous­tic trawl of Give Me Some­thing sound­ing like her name­sake Adele at her least both­ered. She is much more en­gag­ing when she op­er­ates at full grown-up throt­tle, the ur­gent or­ches­tral storm cloud of Hurts driven by choppy, rising-hys­te­ria beats and ref­er­ences to “mad shit”. Heart­break, it re­minds us, is not taste­ful, or pretty. It’s as ugly as she lets her­self get, but it’s a mem­o­rable warn­ing dis­play. There are more sub­tle plea­sures, though. The glitchy, stop-mo­tion elec­tron­ica of Gar­den pushes her ex­per­i­men­tal side out to­wards Kate Bush shores, while the de­cep­tively heav­enly harp kiss-off I’d Rather Not (“you’re favourite bomb was ‘let’s just be friends’/Now you’re sug­gest­ing we try again”) feels like a proper cry­ing-in-the-mir­ror an­them. Long Live The An­gels sug­gests some­body tidy­ing up a messy life: sometimes she smooths it out too much; at other times, the prob­lems and emo­tions poke through and burst out. It might not be part of Sandé’s master­plan, but the lat­ter is in­fin­itely prefer­able. VIC­TO­RIA SE­GAL

Lis­ten To: Gar­den | I’d Rather Not | Hurts

Emeli Sandé: “...An­gels sug­gests some­body tidy­ing up a messy life.”

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