Central to the band’s seductive late-night sound is the voice of Hannah Reid, a beautiful and ghostly presence with none of the shoutiness that’s been the curse of the charts of late. London Grammar is in the happy position of being both enormously hip and selling lots of records — one imagines that a couple of Brits would be the icing on the cake.
Laura Marling is beginning to occupy that same exalted stateswoman position that Annie Lennox and Kate Bush did in the 1990s. Each of the 24-year-old’s albums received a mercury award nomination (in 2008, 2010, and 2013) and she was also on the shortlist for Female solo artist at the 2011 Brits. Her increasingly polished albums have seen her style darken and mature from girlish bluestocking charm to a Joni Mitchell-ish weight and substance.
A zero out of ten NME review of his debut album Long Way Down — the review was subtitled “offensively dull piano pop destined for Brits ubiquity” — didn’t stop it going to number one in the UK album charts. Odell writes well-crafted songs of romantic angst and first came to prominence via a performance on Later… with Jools Holland, and has since won that predicted ubiquity for his heart-on-sleeve ballads, pitched somewhere between Keane, Elbow and Elton John.
Though she scooped two awards at last year’s Mobos, including Best R&B/Soul Artist, such genre pigeonholing really doesn’t do justice to Laura Mvula’s esoteric and eclectic style. There’s as much of Philip Glass as there is Aretha Franklin in the former Birmingham supply teacher’s take on modern soul, thanks to her classical training at Birmingham’s Conservatoire. She’s nominated twice so should win at least one gong.
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