Friday 24 November 2023

Who would believe that Joy Denalane has released her best album to date?  I guess that's the strength of 'WILLPOWER'.

One of the reasons I have been taken a-back by 'WILLPOWER' is that Joy's previous best album was as a featured vocalist with [re:jazz] back in 2003 with the classic jazzdance-dub hybrid, 'Torch Of Freedom'. On the back of that, I always would keep an eye opend for her name and then, out of the blue, she released 'Born & Raised' on the Four Music sub-label that she ran with husband Max Herre.

So all these years on her voice is just as soulful and she's written an album that's deeply personal and emotional; that's often the cue to run to the hills but don't.  Teaming up with now ex-husband Max Herre (as recently seen on top form with jazz group Web Web and Carlos Niño making a guest appearance - see review HERE) and mates with everyone, Roberto Di Gioia (see review HERE), these are a dozen tracks that covers the loss of her father and her children leaving home; i.e. growing up.

Luckily, it sounds reflective and up all at the same time, like 'Happy' (in two versions, one featuring Ghostface Killah - yes, he of Wu-Tang) and one not that captures the gospel feel.  If 'Happy' has passed you by as a single, don't let is pass you on this album with the ten b-sides (so to speak).

'Can't We Cry' and 'Revolutions' sounds a bit cheesy on first listen but will definitinly grows on you and sets you up for 'True (Soweto)', 'Good Times Better' and the title track, 'WILLPOWER'. 

Goes without saying tht this seems a very grown up album but I'd like to think that the love and touching lyrics here will reach an all-age fanbase.  Lets hope that Joy brings so much Joy into lots of people's hearts with this release.

Artist: Joe Denalane 


Release date: 24th November, 2023

Label: Four Music

Cat. No: Limited Edition vinyl - 19658842501 CD 19658842502

Format: LP / CD / Digital / Bandcamp


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