From the Roots Up

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British vocalist Delilah's debut album, 2012's From the Roots Up, features her atmospheric R&B, trip-hop, and singer/songwriter-inflected electronic pop. These are expertly crafted and sophisticated songs that showcase a nice mix of synthetic, club-oriented sounds as well as more organic instrumentation. Vocally, with her passionate and resonant alto croon, Delilah sounds somewhat like Rihanna with a bit of Sade's more hushed, smooth style. Tracks like "Breathe," with its waves of cinematic string backgrounds, and "Shades of Grey," with its shimmering, layered vocals over atmospheric piano hits, bring together an artful DJ soundscape aesthetic with radio-ready pop melodies. In that sense, the album also brings to mind the trip-hop pop of '90s vocalist Dido, albeit with a darker, more world music influence. In many ways, Delilah comes off as a kind of state-of-the-art soul diva here, especially on her archly sensual, sci-fi reworking of Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love." It's a notion that is only reinforced on such tracks as the steamy and expansive leadoff cut "Never Be Another" and the pulsing, fluorescent-colored anthem "Love You So." As if pumped through the sound system of Taffy's Bar in the film Blade Runner, these are ominously sexy and infectious futuristic R&B anthems that envelop you with a kind of woozy, dystopian glow.

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