Kelela's debut album, Take Me Apart emerges as an epic portrait of an artist spanning the past and future of R&B. In her hands, however, the genre knows no boundaries and so Take Me Apart exists as an absolutely singular and fearless addition to a canon of recent classics. From her very earliest work, honesty and vulnerability have been cornerstones of Kelela's art - even when clad in the armor of the avant-garde electronics she so deftly inhabits - and Take Me Apart sees her double down on both the emotional intensity and resonance of her message as well as the sonic seeking she is renowned for.
The timeless, zero-gravity ballad "Better" sees Kelela at her most unadorned - baring her soul to a nameless other over subtly transforming piano and synth textures while first single "LMK" is all staggering club swagger that manages to span the past 20 years of innovative R&B while still exploring another dimension of possibilities. These songs typify the melding of classic song-craft and inventive production approach at the album's core, but it's here where things take yet another exhilarating turn. "Truth or Dare" has the brittle snap and vocal twists of a Neptunes track while "Blue Light" sees Kelela weld her sweeping pleas to the warped sonic palette of grime, pointing the way forward to a possible future of cybernetic soul.
Now we are swept into the slipstream of a pair of breathtaking Arca collaborations in "On And On" and the otherworldly grandeur of "Turn To Dust," which conjures images of the powerful and iconic diva of Luc Besson's The Fifth Element; and it's a short trip to the unforgettable pneumatic gospel of album closer "Altadena," a perfect uroboros link back to "Frontline" to begin the saga all over again. At this point you're left with the feeling that this trip through Take Me Apart is one you'll be making many more times.