As the only British female artist, excluding Adele, to have her last three albums all go double platinum in the UK, theatrical London lass Paloma Faith has raised the expectations for her latest record, The Architect and it’s safe to say she’s come back with a different subject matter altogether.
Paloma has said this album is a social observation; commenting on daily suffering experienced by the common man or woman. Opening track, ‘Evolution’ features movie giant, Samuel L Jackson, who assertively says: “You can change things. Yes, you.” This initial message of uniting for change slaps the listener in the face and runs throughout the album.
Despite the gritty subject matter the tracks themselves do not reflect this in their sound. The slinky, soul-funk track, ‘Crybaby’, featuring an incredibly infectious chorus, cleverly combats the stereotype of men being conditioned by society to not show their emotions. The track is sandwiched between the slow harmonious ballads ‘Guilty’ and ‘I’ll Be Gentle’ featuring John Legend. The latter is a track with powerful, piercing vocals from both artists, carrying the emotions clearly through the melodic track about remembering to be kind to one another despite all the cruelty in the world.
‘Lost and Lonely’ and ‘WW3′ both feature sparkling vocals with a powerful, cacophonous band as if they were pinched from a West End Musical. Although Paloma is, in her own words, “writing something more modern” with the new album, it’s clear she doesn’t stray far from her retro-soul roots.
There are more politically charged interludes hidden amongst the pack too. Politics of Hope Ft. Socialist, Guardian columnist, Owen Jones, is edited to sound similar to a radio broadcast from a left-wing presenter, demanding we fight for “a society run in the interest of the majority.” Later in the album, the track ‘Pawns Ft. Baby, Nym & Janelle‘, has a very different vibe to the others; the atmospheric synth shadowed by a mellow bass slows the pace of the album down without detracting from the overall message.
Although ‘The Architect’ has some tracks that sound very similar to her previous hits, Paloma’s powerful, textured, throaty voice has created some catchy emotion-filled songs that are bound to climb the charts.