The “other Adele” tidies up her personal life on second LP.
THE “OTHER” ADELE RETURNS WITH ANGUISHED, INTENSE SECOND LP.
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.”