Wayna The Expats

Wayna The Expats
7
Unlike Wayna's jazzy neo-soul albums Moments of Clarity, Book 1 and Higher Ground (which earned her a Grammy nod for "Lovin You (Music)"), her latest release, The Expats, explores the Ethiopian-born singer-songwriter's desire to sonically travel, employing greater world beat influences while drawing on unexpected sides of her voice. Standout opening track "Yo Yo" shows off her dreamy melodic vocals against African beats, revealing that although she's labeled a progressive R&B artist, she would shine in more rock-based genres, too; on the theatrical "Freak Show," her crazy range soars to operatic levels. There are moments where Wayna's flawlessly executed vocals sound strident, making one miss the sultry soul she showcased on previous releases, like "I Don't Want to Wait," a track on which uncooperative production aims itself in too many directions, ultimately working against itself. Overall, Wayna has an innate ability to enrich each song with atmosphere, making The Expats a sweeping global affair: the songs take you to the Sahara desert ("Echo") and the lush plains of Jamaica ("Amazing"), all the while bringing something to music that is too special to ignore. (Wayna Music)