British reggae singer Hollie Cook's third solo album isn't drastically different than her first two; she still specializes in a smooth, slightly dubby update of vintage roots and lovers rock sounds. However, Vessel of Love is clearly a step up from her previous releases. The songs are simply better written, and her vocals mesh with the production and arrangements better than they did before. Cook's voice is honey-sweet without being saccharine, and the music is incredibly dreamy while still maintaining a strong rhythmic focus. On this album, Cook is helped out by super-producer and Killing Joke co-founder Youth, a longtime proponent of dub-influenced rock and electronic music. The production is just as trippy and adventurous as one would expect from someone who contributed to the Orb's first two albums, but in much more of a pop context, and remaining true to reggae traditions. On songs like "Stay Alive," Cook's voice blooms while the music sparkles and shines. "Lunar Addiction" is lush and spacy enough for Cook to become lost in the music, but she never gets drowned out by the echo, and the rhythm remains heavy while everything else seems weightless. Most of the album consists of love songs, but Cook's lyrics are imaginative, avoiding clichés and expressing sentiments in a fresh, original way. It almost seems obligatory to acknowledge Cook's pedigree -- for starters, she's the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, and her career as a musician began when Ari Up asked her to join the Slits when they reunited in 2005. While Cook's credentials are undeniably impeccable, they don't outshine her talent, and she just keeps getting better.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson