Published May 07, 2019UK songstress Rosie Lowe has strengthened her collaboration with the Invisible's Dave Okumu on her second album, YU, which uses subtle grooves to chart her journey navigating love. "The Way," featuring Jay Electronica, is a nimble, soul-inflected reflection that gains a wonderful deep end, building towards Electronica's verse. "Something substantial in your heart beat / Something in your eyes so persuading," Lowe describes her lover, admitting that "whatever you do, you've got me bound, boy" over intuitive keys and percussion.
The album's first single, "Birdsong," pulsates with the strength of an incredible collection of backing vocalists: Jamie Woon, Jamie Lidell, Kwabs and Jordan Rakei. Lowe's winding melody in the verses is laden with anticipation as she sings, "It's the very thought of you that gets me through the night / And the knowing I will get it once more." "Mango" ripens into a smooth, atmospheric track, before birds return to evoke the renewal of spring, chirping behind the beats and keys of "ITILY" (I Think I Love You) whose gradual pace and dreamy hook solidify Lowe's knack for R&B. She balances insistence with patience on "Little Bird," while "Royalty" channels the wonky funk of early NAO.
As an album, YU feels like a body of work sewn together with interludes, hooks and a growing maturity. Lowe has made a statement by developing inward musings into grooves that reach toward new audiences, the heart at the centre of her work audibly beating. (Wolf Tone)