- 29 Sep 23
Superb sophomore effort from Walsall artist
Since her debut Lost & Found, Jorja Smith has collaborated with big kahunas (Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Stormzy); completed trojan work (this record’s single ‘Go Go Go’ is her 31st!); and worked with an ice-cool roster of artists (Loyle Carner, Burna Boy, Popcaan, Shaybo, GuiltyBeatz).
But home is home, so to create her sophomore album, Falling Or Flying, Jorja returned to her birthplace of Walsall, working with producer duo DAMEDAME*, blending jazz, soul, funk and R&B in fine style. The record gallops out of the gates with the wonderful ‘Try Me’, and never lets up until it touches down under the enveloping midnight jazz of ‘What If My Heart Beats Faster?’
Smith moves at breakneck speed, with ‘Go Go Go’ coming in south of three minutes, setting a trend that half-a-dozen tracks replicate. ‘Little Things’ begins with a disassociated voice in a backroom, piano and drums warming up – a door swings open, and then pulsing bass and rushing breakbeats flood in. Smith’s vocal rapidly flows, oozing and soaring at the same time.
It’s magic worthy of proto-garage The Streets, and the bookended whirling sample and camp-horror piano is boss. ‘Bt68 JJY’ channels Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’ via ‘Backwards’, the listener riding shot-gun through the urban sprawl of the West Midlands, under sodium lamps, neon advertisements and late-night businesses. With Smith, of course, in full control at the wheel.