Me'shell N'dgeocello Comfort Woman

Me'shell N'dgeocello Comfort Woman
For her fifth studio record Me’shell topically revisits similar territory to her 1999 outing Bitter. But while that record dealt with relationship pain and rejection with stark acoustic production, Comfort Woman is an unqualified celebration, awash with N’dgeocello’s own trademark bass grooves and sonic forays into reggae and rock and evidence she’s recently been listening to Prince. Abetted by long-time collaborators ace engineer Bob Power and guitarist Allen Cato and running a taut 39 minutes, Comfort Woman is a meticulously crafted suite that unashamedly wears its heart on its sleeve. The first of three versions of "Love Song” is delivered with stunning clarity, plumbing cavernous dub while Me’shell’s breathless vocals are tempered between strength and vulnerability. But it soon becomes clear; to say the album is merely about love would be doing Me’shell a disservice. She’s often made symbolic links to love as a resistant action that articulates freedom and the cosmic overtones in the album artwork and song titles like "Andromeda & the Milky Way” allude to the urge to exist outside confining spaces. A critique of organised religion, "Fellowship,” prefers to extol the virtues of unconditional love. Given that, Me’shell’s customary musings on race and sexual identity are virtually absent on this release, but it does not the mean the record is any less powerful either. (Maverick)