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Here’s another swerve from R&B singer Kelis, the latest in a career which, despite flashes of inspiration such as the 2003 hit “Milkshake”, hasn’t lived up to its potential.

Food abandons the brash dance-pop direction of 2010’s Flesh Tone for a retro-soul sound, all horns, organ and warm guitar, deftly produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek.

The flute parts and funk percussion in “Cobbler” come across as a collection of antique tics in search of a song but “Floyd” provides the singer’s husky voice with the perfect languorous setting and “Friday Fish Fry” shimmies by with a Stonesy guitar solo and rousing gospel chorus. The move back in time is something of a retreat from relevance but the style suits her.

Meanwhile the food theme running through the album derives from another career swerve: during a protracted dispute with a previous record label she trained as a Cordon Bleu cook.

Kelis

Food

(Ninja Tune)

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