Almost two years to the day since the release of her EP Hallucinogen
, LA-based R&B singer Kelela
has again struck gold with the release of her debut full-length album, Take Me Apart.
Heavily teased by tracks such as "Bluelight," "Frontline," and "LMK", the release of the full album fulfills all the promises of greatness that were delivered by the singles and firmly establishes Kelela as one of the premier R&B singers on the scene right now.
Yet to pigeonhole Kelela into one genre seems to do a disservice to the vast artistic undertaking that is Take Me Apart.
Like with Hallucinogen
, Kelela employs a wealth of talented producers to sculpt a sound that has a stunning overarching theme, yet still gives each song its own unique character.
The album opens with the bass heavy and intimate "Frontline," which is accentuated with glitch elements by the legendary producer Jam City. Jam City, along with producers Kwes and Arca on several other tracks, eschews a traditional R&B sound by incorporating glitch, pop, and dance sounds to create an atmospheric soundscape which Kelela's lyrics effortlessly glide along with and cut through at appropriate times.
Take Me Apart
continues with "Waitin," which, like much of the album, feels at place in both the club and bedroom. Yet this is not simply an album full of generic love songs. Take Me Apart
is a nuanced address to the agonies and ecstasies of love and heartbreak, and most poignantly, an artist's embrace of their own personal value to herself.
Kelela also seems to shine the brightest on this album in the quieter moments of reflection such as on "Better," where a more minimalist approach to instrumentation allows an intimate glimpse into the harmony-dripped dialogue between her and the unknown lover.
The album closes with perhaps the most traditional, synth-and-bass-heavy R&B track "Altadena," which eases the listener out of the intensely emotional and sonically unique endeavor that is Take Me Apart.
Take Me Apart
is a creative and emotional tour-de-force, and with it Kelela pulls off the not-so-small feat of following up a stellar EP release with a tremendously successful studio album.