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Katy B
On A Mission Lev Harris , April 4th, 2011 12:20

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The release of debut single 'Katy on a Mission' has, whether through marketing ploy or gaffe, heaped expectation on Katy B's shoulders for an album that would sit as another milestone on the ever-evolving map of dubstep. This, as well as her background at both Rinse FM and the prestigious BRIT Art School that spawned Kate Nash and Jamie Woon, has sharpened expectation to the nth degree.

It is to her credit that, on what could have been an string of perfectly competent 'On a Mission' replicas, her debut LP instead sees Katy B moulding her own cogent identity as a singer-songwriter, whose songs just so happen to have infectious beats to power them along. Prime examples are the house and funky grooves on 'Power on Me' and 'Why You Always Here', surely destined to follow in the footsteps of 'Lights On' to become future floor fillers. These leftfield textures never stand as a distraction from the songs themselves, which sit perfectly happily in a mainstream pop context. No more is this more applicable than on 'Easy Please Me', a track that could easily stand among Ciara or Brandy's best work.

Perhaps what is most laudable about Katy B is that there is no self-conscious middle finger or 'fuck you' that often accompanies the 'angry' tracks on mainstream albums by the likes of Lily Allen or Jessie J. Instead, the lyrical content seems defiantly heartfelt, loaded with personality, each song exuding a deep, vivid tenderness. Her lyrics are delivered through a honeyed voice that belies the fast tempo of the tracks, with subject matter firmly in R&B territory, ranging from love and relationships to the perennial favourite of an evocation of the clubbing experience.

Even the more down tempo 'Go Away' manages to invert the classic mid-album ballad with a half-time dubstep beat that serves as a foundation to allow Katy the opportunity to really display her vocal dexterity. The one sour note is the filler 'Disappear', with the melodies lost in comparison to elsewhere, and a languid beat that seems not to know where it's going. But even this weak moment serves to push the producer into the background, leaving the spotlight on her autotune-free voice.

Unafraid to dabble with rave-influenced synths in 'Witches Brew', occasional drum & bass and jungle in 'Broken Record' and 'Perfect Stranger' and trumpets on last track 'Hard To Get', could this experimentation be working merely as a failsafe to give her album more staying power simply by dint of a pebbledash approach? The cynics will say yes, but in my mind it is purely just a sign of an artist confident and willing enough to test and execute a diverse range of different sounds. Mission accomplished, then.

Bobby
Apr 4, 2011 7:38pm

Agree with your summary of Go Away - when she opens up and goes full steam toward the end it's breathtaking. I have to say though that Disappear is one of my favourite tracks on the album.

I like that it's such a departure from the rest of the album, and the lyrics are some of the most meaningful and poignant of the entire album.

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Steven Duncan
Apr 5, 2011 11:57pm

You are hilarious! Review this kiddy shite but you're too cool to review the new Radiohead? Fucking idiots. Credibility by being elitist and then the opposite. Everyone else is doing it so let's review utter pish. Fucking shut your website down. No one goes to you for relevance anymore. Someone is putting something in your expensive coffee. Terrible cunts.

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Apr 6, 2011 8:28am

In reply to Steven Duncan:

Terrible cunts!

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MF DIMM
Apr 6, 2011 6:01pm

steve duncan is ANGRY

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Steven Duncan
Apr 6, 2011 11:28pm

In reply to MF DIMM:

Fucking right. Asshole closet-music dick heads piss me off. Middles writes for these cunts. What the fuck is going on? The Quietus is dead long live fuck knows.

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Rich M
Apr 7, 2011 10:29am

In reply to Steven Duncan:

I bet they've reviewed a whole

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Rich M
Apr 7, 2011 10:31am

In reply to Rich M:

bunch of music you personally don't like. How dare they not consult you personally first!

I would cancel my subscription, were that possible. And I think the fact that I can't demonstrates clearly and with no hyperbole whatsoever what NAZIS the Quietus are. Filthy music reviewing NAZIS!

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Fenrir
Apr 7, 2011 11:35am

In reply to Steven Duncan:

...............and relax.

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Steven Duncan
Apr 9, 2011 11:00pm

In reply to Rich M:

They're not nazis, funny as your sarcasm was, hilarious actually, I nearly laughed. It's a stupid site with no point, the same rubbish left interviews haven't changed in god knows how long. No one gives a fuck least of all the reviewers. It's bullshit. Hope it drags it's half dead body about for a a bit longer so I've got something to laugh at when I'm bored.

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Steven Duncan
Apr 9, 2011 11:09pm

In reply to Ben Hewitt:

Bollocks. Made myself look like a right dick again then. Fuck.

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steven Duncan
Apr 9, 2011 11:19pm

In reply to Ben Hewitt:

Pretty spot on review too.

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