Blessed with a cherubic croon that’s equal parts Sixpence None the Richer's Leigh Nash and Ellie Goulding, and an ear for writing utterly infectious, radio-ready songs, Malaysia’s Yuna has become something of a worldwide sensation. With her 2012 self-titled album, the singer/guitarist (born Yuna Zarai ) began garnering attention in the United States, especially after her appearances at Lollapalooza that year. On this, her third studio album and Verve debut, 2013's Nocturnal, Yuna continues in the soft, soulful, melodic pop vein of her previous albums. Essentially a straightforward pop singer/songwriter -- the kind who wouldn't sound out of place in a coffee shop -- there has always been something empowering and motivational at the core of Yuna's music. Whether it’s that she's a strong female artist, or simply a positive-minded songwriter, many of the songs on Nocturnal evince a kind of delicate girl power vibe. And while Yuna's musical bread and butter are acoustic, singer/songwriter confessionals about love and intimacy ("Someone Who Can"), here her songs are given a sophisticated production that touches upon contemporary R&B ("Lights and Camera"), and breezy, radio-ready pop ("I Wanna Go") without losing any of her earthy sweetness. To these ends, we get the infectious and gentle, dance-oriented opener "Falling," the shimmering and buoyant Afro-pop-inflected "Rescue," and the passionate midtempo ballad "I Want You Back." Ultimately, with Nocturnal, Yuna's future looks bright.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar