Sunday Times - - Review - Yolisa Mkele


Lost & Found – Jorja Smith

Pic­ture the scene: you and a “friend” are loung­ing about the house on a Satur­day af­ter­noon. The weather out­side means at least one of you is wear­ing knitwear but there’s a heater on in the back­ground so shoes are splayed across the room. Glasses cup var­i­ous amounts of rea­son­ably priced wine and laugh­ter bounces off the walls, but the air is redo­lent with sex­ual ten­sion. Some­one is def­i­nitely try­ing to get laid but also wants it to mean more than just a ca­sual af­ter­noon of gen­i­tal fric­tion. In mo­ments like this, the right mu­sic can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween ruf­fled sheets and a solo visit to Porn­hub. This is the mo­ment you need Jorja Smith’s de­but al­bum Lost & Found.

As is of­ten the case these days, Smith had been teas­ing an al­bum for months by putting out a suc­ces­sion of sin­gles, mu­sic videos and an EP, most of which have re­ceived favourable re­views. As a re­sult, ex­pec­ta­tions for this al­bum were high — and the 21year-old has man­aged to match them with sur­pris­ing sul­tri­ness.

In this day and age al­bums tend to func­tion more as a col­lec­tion of songs to be in­serted into a playlist rather than a care­fully cu­rated body of work. With this al­bum it feels like ef­fort has been put into how the al­bum plays and that is Lost & Found’s great­est strength. The al­bum turns it­self into a mood. It is less about the beau­ti­fully writ­ten songs or Smith’s voice. It’s about the mo­ment that those fac­tors come to­gether to cre­ate and how, when played at just the right vol­ume, the en­tire body of work weaves it­self to­gether in such a way as to ren­der a playlist point­less.

A lot of lyri­cal wax could be spent prais­ing the song­writ­ing, the fact that Smith’s voice re­minds me of a volup­tuous red wine, and the gen­eral qual­ity of the al­bum, but none of that is re­ally im­por­tant. What re­ally mat­ters is the per­son in a cream wool jumper sit­ting on the other side of the couch, inch­ing their hand to­wards yours as Lost & Found plays in the back­ground.

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