Despite his relative youth, and the fact that this is his full-length debut, Mura Masa has already developed an instantly recognisable sound, which presents itself a matter of seconds into the opening track ‘Messy Love’.
This clear sonic identity, however, does not result in repetitiveness or predictability. Every track on his self-titled debut draws from a broad palette of styles without ever being derivative; whether that’s the obvious Prince influence on ‘Nothing Else’ or the more subtle Eski click sounds and jungle snare-rolls on ‘Second 2 None’.
It’s not just an album that flows seamlessly between styles, but also one with impeccable balance. There’s room for one of the best pop songs of the year – the Charli XCX collab ‘1 Night’ absolutely nailing the dancehall-infused-pop-banger brief that so many have failed to hit – but also ample space for tenderness, delicacy and soul (especially on the two closing tracks).
Similarly, the impressive features – including Damon Albarn, Desiigner, Christine & The Queens and even the elusive A.K. Paul – are not overbearing and never gratuitous, despite their abundance.
Mura Masa’s nuance, confidence and obvious versatility betray his relative inexperience, and it’s increasingly clear that he is already a musical force to be reckoned with.
Words: James Kilpin
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