Album Reviews / New music

V V Brown – Samson And Delilah

Once a bright starlet of the early noughties pop world, singer-songwriter, V V Brown has taken a few years out, bursting back onto the scene a matured, reinvented and musically transformed artist.

Known for her pop hit, Shark In The Water, taken from 2009 debut Travelling Like The Light, Brown’s second album Samson And Delilah is a brilliant comeback record; thoughtfully put together, diverse and surprising. It’s not been an easy ride, either. After parting company with 2 different labels as well as pulling a whole album’s worth of work because it didn’t feel ‘right’, it’s safe to say this is a labour of love from Brown.

Cinematic opener, Substitute For Love, is a ballad fuelled by Brown’s strong vocals and minimalist accompaniment. Semi-operatic in her vocal techniques, a beautiful church-like atmosphere is created by an organ drone and delicate reverbs. The track is given a modern twist with bouncy synths and later on, dramatic, pounding drums interspersed with electronic instrumental effects.

Following on is Nothing Really Matters, a synth-focused track with duetting male/female vocals bringing a new dimension to Brown’s catalogue. A retro feel is brought to life with heavily programmed beats and sharp snare hits whilst the soulful vocals and lyrics outline Brown’s songwriting skills.

Detailing the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, track Samson is (not surprisingly), a strong contribution. The level of production is really demonstrated here and has a great sound-track feel to it.

A penetrating bass line introduces Igneous; an organised chaos of shrieks, feedback and echoing vocals. Again, experimental sound effects play a huge part and have, by now, made themselves a regular and binding element of the record. The Apple, one of the album’s singles, is a highly energised electro pop number, whilst Faith is a funky, syncopated, radio-friendly offering. Ghosts is a classic sounding track with it’s vocal line almost straight out of a Killers record – perhaps a new rockier direction for the Rn’B tarnished V V Brown?

Beginning is the album’s closer. The longest track on the record, it grows and swells through various guises, metamorphosing from eerie, minimal synth lines and no percussion to defined vocals, XX-style laid back beats and unassuming guitar riffs.

Co Produced by Mercury Award-Winning Dave Okumu and Laurence Aldridge and part-engineered by Miloco’s Joseph Rodgers, the writing and some tracking took place in The Bridge Studio, whilst the final album mixes were laid down in the Engine Room with engineer Oli Wright.

Samson And Delilah’s production is flawless; slick, attentive and crisp-sounding. A profoundly polished record and the perfect statement for VV Brown’s comeback album.

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