Kathleen “Katy B” O’ Brien has come a long way in a couple of years, a graduate of both the BRIT School (A Performing Arts Academy funded by the BRIT Awards) and the University of London as a scholar of Popular Music. During this time she found herself working through the motions and despite being offered “major label” deals back in 2009 decided to keep on keeping on until in 2010 where she was propelled into the mainstream with a little help from Rinse (a former pirate radio station) and some heavyweight names behind her in regards production.
Having quickly made a name for herself within the dance scene due to successful vocal performances for the likes of Magnetic Man and The Count and Sinden the artist formerly known as Baby Katy was beginning to build a rep. After hearing her for the first time last year on those guest spots and the Benga produced single “Katy On A Mission” I wanted more and I wanted it as soon as. Despite only being a year the wait for her debut album seemed much longer, this only increased my expectation and anticipation for this album leaving her with pretty big boots to fill.
The good news is said boots are a perfect fit and she wears them well, although this album dosent smash my expectations it certainly matches them. Although there are plenty of things to love about this album my enjoyment of it falls into two distinct categories. The first being the vocals, its obvious that Miss B has a really strong voice but throughout this record she shows a truly soulful and at times playful side to it. Weaving melodies that draw you closer into the music and compliment it well. Katy’s voice although not remarkably distinct is definetly soothing and sweet. Furthermore she’s still young, leaving her with plenty of time for her voice and songwriting to grow stronger.
Musically this album encompasses so much, so many styles and genres are thrown into the blender and mixed together. Blurring the lines of Drum n Bass, Dubstep, Rave, Jungle, Breakbeats, Dancehall and RnB not only acts like a huge sonic experiment but also and more importantly shows Katy B channeling a very fresh approach to pop music. The production behind the majority of the beats is really tight and clean, especially a lot of the bass lines and synth work. As much as Katy puts her own stamp on this album with her loveable everyday girl going hard aesthetic mad props have to be given to the guys behind her beats. Applying so many different elements could have seen this album approaching dangerous territory but the transitions within tracks and between tracks as a whole is never drastic, it feels like a naturally progression in every aspect.
It’s hard to find faults with this album in terms of musical and production level but what does let the album down a little is that some tracks just aren’t as strong as others on here. For example “Perfect Stranger”, “Lights On”, “On A Mission” and “Why You Always Here” carry a lot more weight than some of the tracks around the halfway mark like “Go Away” or “Disappear” and its that dip in consistency which stops it from being much stronger. Plus one little gripe I had was that there is a point at the very tail end of the album which would have been perfect to finish on, yet it dosent instead it gives you four minutes of white noise before cutting into a bonus track which although is good I feel the LP as a whole would have wrapped itself up much neater if it had been left off the disc.
However having that said other than that there isn’t really that much to fault with the album. Not only is it a fantastic debut album but quite possibly the pop album of the year. So many great ideas, so many big tunes and a great record for Katy B to propel herself from. A definite must listen, especially if you want the party to keep going after hours.