For reasons unknown Eddie has decided that, each year, we will review all of the nominees despite the fact we're all grumpy old metalheads. Maybe it's some musical horizon expanding thing, I dunno. If I wanted that I'd listen to some Frank Zappa.
Whilst I've heard of Michael Kiwanuka I'm less familiar with the actual music and, to be honest, I was expecting forgettable Indie Folk (a lá Ed Sheeren) with maybe a bit of a World Music influence added in as well. It turns out I was jumping to easy conclusions and probably being a bit racist too because Love & Hate isn't like that at all.
The opening track, Cold Little Heart, is a shade under ten minutes long. It opens with subtle strings and the occasional stroke of a piano key. Looped ah-ah's usher in the band and the strings pick up. Some atmospheric lead guitar adds to the feeling that this is some 70's Prog I'm listening to. It also appears to be an instrumental right up until about five minutes or so when it changes tack, It still has a 70's feel but more of a Soul/Motown thing. It's a song of self loathing but gentle and feel good to listen to, If you can ignore the depressingly lyrics. It's a good, thoughtful song that's intricate and well structured. It gives me hope for the rest of the album.
Black Man In A White World is fairly self explanatory in theme and is driven along with handclaps and the title repeated like a mantra. It's incredibly catchy and gets stuck in your head immediately. Following that is Falling, which is much more introspective song. It's about getting dumped, getting over the heartbreak and sorting your head out only for the dumper to say they think they've made a mistake. I can identify with the first part at least...
Next up is Place I Belong that has a laid back, Marvin Gaye vibe to it. It's a pleasant enough song but doesn't stand out much amid better songs.
The title track is the song that seems to get played on telly. It's built around some casual ba ba didap ba's and a string section that ebbs and flows. It's about being positive in the face of negativity and has a timelessness to it. It sounds old but in a good way.