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OK, so I've had a pretty crazy week. Lots to do. Plenty of things to get stressed about. So much on the plate. It's times like this that people tend to turn to some time-honoured ritual to provide some measure of sanity as their world goes bonkers all around them.

For me, this ritual is (wait for it...) listening to some favourite records. Dylan. The Walkmen. Stevie Wonder. Dirty Three. That sort of thing. But before I could reach for any one of my usual suspects, I found myself unexpectedly overwhelmed by someone of whom I'd never heard and had zero expectations—this man and his masterful debut album, Home Again.

Like its title suggests, it's an album that is humble and grounded. But while this comforting, genial exterior is a fair representation of the album's manner, it is deeply misleading in terms of its rarer qualities. This is an album that reaches for the same heights of spiritually resonant folk R&B that greats like Bill Withers and Van Morrison (and few others) have scaled—and it very nearly pulls it off.

I only really say "nearly" to avoid having this sound like too much empty critic hyperbole. I suppose I could see how someone could put on Home Again and say, "Meh...just another laidback, retro-y R&B platter..." But for me, this is definitely the first great record I've heard this year. I've spent several entire days listening to nothing else, and I'm not approaching being tired of it.

So thanks, Mr. Kiwanuka. You've definitely helped stave off another mental breakdown for this writer. The least I can do in return is spread the word.

Reader Comments (2)

I have all of his stuff to date, and like you can listen on repeat without getting even close to sick of his soulful songs ...he is sold out all over the UK - can't wait for a North American Tour...heard he played a secret show for media types during Canadian Music Week, but it was never confirmed. Also can`t wait to grab the vinyl...I am assuming you guys finally have it in...yes?

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeatrice

I have to agree this is one of the best albums of the year so far. There are so many influences...Bill Withers, Terry Callier,
Cat Stevens... it makes it sound familiar on first listen, yet it's totally original. . I was in the store on Saturday, never saw it so busy. Great to see. I picked up another album that would be on a shortlist of the year's best so far: Electric Cables by Lightships, a side project by Teenage Fanclub bassist Gerard Love. Like Home Again, I've been listening to it for 2 days and it still sounds great.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill

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