Australian-born, London-based musician Jorja Chalmers gained international recognition as the show-stealing saxophonist and keyboard player for Bryan Ferry's live band, which she's been an integral part of since 2007. While constantly busy touring throughout the world, she's been writing and recording her own songs, and following a string-laden 2016 EP, Human Again is her synth-heavy full-length debut. Fitting squarely within the Italians Do It Better aesthetic, this is a rich, haunting set of dream pop tunes and cinematic instrumentals that seem to emerge out of a misty late-night haze. The lyrics artfully express the loneliness, anxiety, and homesickness faced during endless stretches of touring, with highlights "Human Again" and "She Made Him Love Again" evoking ideas of soul replenishment. These tracks weave dusky saxophone lines throughout chilling synth clouds and Julee Cruise-like vocals, providing a cold yet comforting atmosphere. "Red Light" and "Black Shadow" are both filled with suspenseful, Carpenter-esque melodies and slow, spellbinding drum machine patterns, adding a sense of doom to the album. "Copper Bells" makes excellent use of heart-racing arpeggios, and sounds tenser without any beats. The suite-like second half of the album drifts rather than prowls, with the synths sounding more washed out, yet the saxophone melodies are clearer and more romantic. After a ghostly reprise of "She Made Him Love Again," the album recedes into the night with the solemn, funereal "Ship in the Sky." Human Again is a carefully composed, gorgeously evocative narrative.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson