Asa -‘Beautiful Imperfection’ (Naive)
It took a few listens, but once the weather picked up slightly, I started to get this album a whole heap more. Maybe it was the sun shining through the window, becoming a Dad, or just maybe the fact that this album managed to penetrate these ears that have got over exposed to far too much indie-by-numbers. Now with this playing, it’s wiping away the stresses and strains of the day.
Asa (pronounced Asha) hails from Lagos, Nigeria and has a fantastic voice which is infectious. Lead single ‘Be My Man’ is classic soul (and an awesome video to boot) which in a more just world would be booming from every stereo this summer. To these ears it gives the likes of Amy Winehouse, Adele etc.. more than a run for their money.
It’s not a pioneering album, but it does provide a great mix of her influences, taken from her Father’s record collection in Nigeria, to say nothing of the time she has spent living and studying in France, and travelling further afield. While many who claim to mix a variety of influences end up either a) presenting listeners with a mishmash that is worthy but unlistenable or b) trying to make out that that their record collection is less bland than the music they make, that’s not the case here, thankfully. It really is a mixture of pop, soul and reggae.
It’s a very warm sounding record, not just in terms of the fact that it reminds this listener of warmer weather, but the fact that her voice has a very warm, natural feel to it. ‘Be My Man’ is probably the highlight – but the two opening tracks ‘Why Can’t we’ and ‘Maybe’, as well as ‘I Feel ‘ and ‘OK OK’ are strong contenders, too.
Having built up a steady following across Europe, particularly in France (home to her record label) it would be great if she could do the same here. This is certainly a strong enough sounding album to do so, and marketed properly, if the likes of Adele and La Winehouse can shift into 7 figures in the UK, this deserves too, as well.
Beautiful Imperfection is released on Naive on April 4. She plays the Barbican that day with Tiken Jah Fakoly.
This track isn’t on the album but it sounds flamin’ gorgeous: