You & I - the debut album from British-born, Paris-based artist ALA.NI - finally sees its release in the U.S. With all songs written and produced by ALA.NI, the album was recorded in London at Owl Studios (owned by Sade's Andrew Hale) and Studio 13 (owned by Damon Albarn which makes sense as ALA.NI did backing vocals for Blur earlier in her career and Albarn has become a trusted mentor). The album saw rapturous response when it came out in Europe and the UK earlier in 2016.
ALA.NI arrived on the music scene full formed with a voice that seems to take in the cadences of musical history, and an idiosyncratic creative approach to conveying her music. Her vocal stylings have been compared to Billie Holiday, Minnie Ripperton, Lena Horne, Judy Garland and Julee Cruise, but this is no nostalgia trip and to make these simple comparisons would be, as Glamour noted "a disservice because the thing about this West London-born singer is that she is totally unique."
You & I traces an arc through the duration of a particularly tumultuous relationship, with a man who was with someone else at the time. As such, ALA.NI's outlook is now tempered by wisdom and an acceptance of change, which the listener feels keenly as You & I plays. With ALA.NI's hushed, grainy vocals sparsely fleshed out by a '66 Gibson 345, "Come To Me" conjures up the warmth of being together during those first rushes of desire. By the time we get to "One Heart", though, the singer tells us: "I sense you are torn/Evidently, you love me / And another, this I know." By "Roses & Wine," the lover "runs out of time" and by "Darkness At Noon," the light has gone out entirely.