Anoushka Lucas is a London-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer, whose eagerly-anticipated debut album, Dark Soul, delivers an intensely personal collection of timeless, soul-jazz songs, which evoke the joy, confusion and pain of falling in and out of love. The production by the renowned Martin Terefe (at his Kensaltown Studios) is crisp and clear, creating an intimacy which allows the listener to luxuriate in the directness and warmth of Anoushka Lucas’s warm, honey-toned vocals.
This is classic soul-jazz music with a contemporary twist, laden with deep grooves, trippy vibes and some killer instrumental passages, which showcase, in particular, the considerable talents of Glen Scott on piano, organ and keys.
The album opens with the first single, Falling, which features deep bass lines, rippling and cascading piano, and sultry, yearning vocals from Anoushka Lucas. Water Under The Bridge is altogether more playful, with swaying rhythms, a killer chorus and Lucas’s sassy vocals. It’s also the first of several songs on the album to exude a pleasing Brazilian, bossa nova vibe.
Buoyed along by bluesy piano chords, the joyous This Could Be Good is notable for smouldering vocals and exquisite harmonies. The super-cool and quietly exuberant How D’It Get To Be This Late features a totally gorgeous melody and a beautifully nuanced vocal performance from Lucas. Military-style drum fills and bouncy piano usher in Grace Jones, with subtle shifts in tempo and mood, as Lucas’s vocals become increasingly impassioned, underpinned by intense bass and organ grooves.
Morning is an elegant, jazzy ballad, which builds steadily on waves of rippling piano and pulsing bass and includes some delicious scat singing from Anoushka Lucas. Far From There swings gloriously, with Lucas’s commanding vocals delivered partly in Italian and Scott pulling out a dazzling organ solo. The album reaches a peak of excellence with the closing title track, Dark Soul, a gospel-tinged tour de force, in which a graceful, minimalist piano signature provides a fitting backdrop to Lucas’s deeply soulful and heart-breaking vocals.
With this stunning debut album, Anoushka Lucas underlines that she is the real deal…a singer and songwriter of rare quality and finesse, who combines elements of classic soul and jazz to produce her own signature sound. Dark Soul deserves to be widely heard.
Dark Soul is available now, via Sublime Music.