Published Jul 17, 2019The path to Elle Varner's sophomore effort has been a winding one. Pushbacks and label drama (the singer was dropped from RCA Records, the casualty of an ill-timed merger) led to a seven-year delay between albums. But on Ellevation, the chanteuse proves that nothing good happens before its time.
The music on Ellevation is leaner, more raw and refreshingly stripped of the big label lustre found on her debut. It's rooted in lush, earthy jazz, but Varner provides a well-rounded bouquet of sounds, dipping her toes in trap, boom bap and soulful acoustics throughout. "Coffee on the Roof" is a light, relatable meet-cute tale, and "Loving U Blind" is a tender ballad that stands out for its straightforward sincerity. "Be Encouraged" is a classy, reverent closer that not only showcases Varner's growth as a vocalist, but her grace as an artist who has triumphed through numerous setbacks.
Varner has matured a great deal over the past seven years, and Ellevation puts the best of what she's learned on display. It's a strong comeback that will please day-one fans, and is a great place for new listeners to meet her. (eOne)