Album Review: Nao, For all we know

The 22-year-old Hackney-based vocalist is hitting up Birmingham’s O2 Institute on October 30th after the success of her debut album For All We Know released in July.

The album features eighteen tracks, including voice memos, where Nao’s fluttery soul voice accompanies an arrangement of electronic bass and funk beats. Nao claims her music is ‘wonky funk’ and her album does not disappoint.

The helium infused electronic singer-songwriter produces her own organic array of emotionally charged tracks, such as Girlfriend, Fool to Love and In the Morning. Nao has come a long way since the days of being a nominee for the best newcomer at the 2015 MOBO awards and a featured vocalist and writer on Disclosure’s album ‘Caracal’. With an upcoming UK tour, Nao is definitely one to watch.

A personal favourite is Fool to Love which was the first track I listened to from Nao. The electronic beat is one that I could constantly play over and over, plus the lyrics really speak to me. The lyrics juxtapose the upbeat tempo, suggesting some form of personal growth yet bitterness. In addition, Nao’s vocals in this track are impeccable.

Bad Blood definitely focuses more on Nao’s vocals with a more soulful feel and slower tempo to match. The lyrics are passionate and heartfelt with climatic choruses and immense vocals, creating connotations of a broadway show. Two words that come to mind: sultry and sexy.

However, even though all of the tracks follow a similar electronic bear, some take on a more edgy feel. Inhale Exhale creates an edgy yet urban vibe that just doesn’t quite fit Nao’s delicate vocal arrangement. The track doesn’t allow Nao to show off her vocals as well as previous tracks do, so for me it’s a definite no no. Nonetheless, her collaboration with A.K.Paul on Trophy presents her vocals tremendously with a dangerous and edgy feel, accompanied by a strong bass influence. The tracks feels heavily influenced by seventies funk and nineties RnB, an odd combination that seems to work with Nao’s vocals.

Overall, Nao is definitely one of the UK’s brightest new talents at the moment and her tour is one not to be missed.

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