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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Aaradhna: Brown Girl

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Aaradhna: Brown Girl

Aaradhna’s ‘Brown Girl’ is a statement on many levels. Musical identities, prejudice, and personal themes are addressed head on, with Aaradhna pulling no punches. On the title track she rails against pigeonholing, and the racism and prejudice she has herself experienced saying, “I’m more than the brown girl,” making it clear she’s aiming for broader audiences, all the while recalling the vintage soul of ’70s artists like the Chi-Lites. Musically, ‘Brown Girl’ is cohesive and strong, with soul, funk, pop, and country-esque balladry the sonic palette here, all underpinned with Aaradhna’s remarkable vocals. Album opener Welcome To The Jungle sets the tone immediately with her gritty lyrics and a capella vocal floating over restless rhythms, while Devil’s Living In My Shadow takes bluesy melodies and tones and re-frames Aaradhna as a torch-song singer. There are gorgeous moments throughout – Under The Blue Moon is one of the prettiest songs of 2016, with slide guitar, shuffled drum beats, and woozy harmonies creating a confection of sonic sweetness. Aaradhna’s love of ’50s doo wop appears on I Don’t Know, though a world-weariness has crept into her vocal, making it a little more melancholy. Recorded in New York and LA, with production by Jeffrey Scott, Truth & Soul, ‘Brown Girl’ is a triumphant musical statement – a cohesive collection of songs by an artist who is moving beyond boundaries previously imposed on her, creating her own sound.