By Jake Ebdale
Released August 16th, 2013 - UMusic
It's special witnessing a musician becoming the artist. You know that moment when a truly great single or album drops, flourishing in a well of undeniable sound and character. Think ‘Umbrella' or Off The Wall. Ladi6 has surprisingly created that moment with third album Automatic.
Ask the muso guy in the office about what Ladi6 does and he may come up with: MC, reggae singer, a soul sistah. Wrong - she can pass as all three, but is way more than the sum of those used parts. This is interesting and vibrant groove music, something we as Kiwis are seriously lacking, regardless of gender.
With stellar production handled by partner Parks and producer Waajeed (Platinum Pied Pipers), the beats are spacious and thought out: for instance, lead single ‘Ikarus' is straight seductiveness riding a Dillafied zephyr (guess that Slum Village sample throughout downtrodden highlight ‘Shine On'). ‘Diamonds' is Motown boogie imagined by a Sega game system - in this case a resounding compliment. And hell, even Scribesmashes his spot on the menacing gender bend ‘Ready To Fly'. You could say this album brings the best out in everyone.
What weighed down Ladi's previous records and performances was a perceived identity crisis. Seeing one of her shows earlier this year, she could not have been surer of herself. This new confidence is all over the record, and mostly in the title track, a rollicking call to arms. The new material is monstrous in a live setting and a testament to her reign as queen of NZ music. ‘Like Water' was the stream. This is an ocean, baby.
4.5 / 5