After a three-year absence Laura Mvula has returned with The Dreaming Room, yet another strong effort that has her blossoming in ways like never before. She sounds liberated, inspired and motivated; determined to overcome the new challenges that lie before her.
On “Bread” Mvula is desperately searching for answers. But with no satisfactory response to satiate her she looks to the cosmos for guidance. It sounds existential, but it’s grounded in honest sensibilities, giving the impression that the journey she’s on is an inward one: [LISTEN]
The production on The Dreaming Room is a key part of the albums success; it enhances Mvula’s vision and sets a palpable mood, the efforts of Tony Miller and members of the London Symphony Orchestra adding notable depth. It’s a more polished sound than Sing to the Moon, but it also holds a different aesthetic, which doesn’t interfere with what is purely an organic experience.
There’s a case that can be made that what this album lacks is a definitive protest song; that with all the civil rights injustices a voice like Mvula’s is needed. But the truth is that while there is no one song to rally around, the album as a whole serves as protest enough. It’s an effort that rejects conformity and status quo all while embracing the knowledge of self. Mvula much like Nina Simone found that music if delivered honestly and purely is all the statement an artist needs to make.
“People” with its very direct references is as close as it gets. But even then Mvula maintains the notion that love in all its forms is the best defense, and that that power can always be found from within: [LISTEN]
The Dreaming Room is a place where Mvula can freely express herself, and the inhibition suits her well. She is calm and regal in this space and she doesn’t need to overstate anything. It’s a strong album that says that the journey she’s on is far from over. In fact with just two albums under her belt, it’s just getting underway.