Nilüfer Yanya Miss Universe ATO Records
Since she first started commanding column inches back in 2016, much of the buzz encircling Nilüfer Yanya has focused on the effortless and soulful feel of her sound. But the 23-year-old West Londoner subverts that tag entirely in the opening bars of her debut album, Miss Universe.
Imitating an automated phone line by splicing together dead-eyed intonations, WWWAY HEALTH is the first of five spoken interludes outlining a fictitious care programme with increasingly sinister undertones. Leaving aside the fact the execution is a bit am-dram, these Black Mirror-inspired skits are perhaps a bid to add a sense of cohesion to a body of work that feels scattershot, but conceptually add little.
Taking in choppy, Strokes-inspired indie on In Your Head, motorik pop on Heat Rises and supple, Everything but the Girl-style jazz-soul on Paradise, Miss Universe is consistent with Yanya’s diverse tastes and strong technical pedigree, but as a collection it feels unfocused and disjointed. There’s better work ahead of her.