One of the most exciting sounds in pop right now is the melange of dance music, R&B and vocal pyrotechnics coming from young women in the U.K. Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge and FKA Twigs all work in this captivating space, where bewitching vocals blend with avant-garde sonics and all stripes of danceable beatmaking.
Katy B might be the one to take it to the U.S. pop charts. Her new album, "Little Red," is a forceful and fully realized mission statement of contemporary English pop. "Next Thing" throbs with the energy of '90s house, but given a modern digital urgency. "Crying for No Reason" is the hit out of the gate, and an heir to the clubbing-through-tears redemption of Robyn's "Dancing on My Own."
She shouts out a fellow traveler on this path with "Aaliyah," trading lines with Ware in homage to the late experimental R&B singer, and the album is back-to-front full of muscular club cuts with spooky moods and fiery vocal performances. Rarely does a single album capture so much of what's right in a country's current moment in pop music.
Three and a half stars