A month has passed by since we left o sótão’s radio playing on an empty dim-lighted room. And four years have passed since Fatima released her critically acclaimed debut Yellow Memories. This September - and we have to go back in time to give our full attention to it - the London-via-Stockholm songstress, returns with her second album, And Yet It's All Love — an emotional, yet entertaining trip through the full cycle of a romantic relationship, told in Fatima's unmistakable soulful style.
Listeners are transported from first meet, the blinding honeymoon period and struggle right through to the break-up and eventual fallout. Once again, she calls on a talented array of producers and instrumentalists to paint that picture: from MNDSGN, J.D Reid, Purist, Taz Arnold (Kendrick Lamar), Swarvy and regular collaborator Flako. Up-and-coming San Francisco-based illustrator, sculptor and painter, Monica Kim Garza crafts the album artwork, placing one of her powerfully intimate nude paintings at its centre.
And Yet It's All Love is a modern-sounding soul album, where the artist focuses on making moving, memorable songs. All great singers, or rather, the ones who write their own music, have musical trademarks. There are motifs that crop up in many of Fatima's vocal melodies. There’s a jazzy ambiguity in her weird - and mesmerizing - harmonies often suggesting a tense counterbalance of conflicting feelings.
In fact the LP provokes that wide range of moods, painting a lively portrait of Fatima as a person, taking us to a closer look on the magnificent cover, with her putting all to words and harmonies and dreams, through solitude and weed. There are the hooky singalongs which benefit from the album's bass-boosted production. There are moments of audacious self-empowerment, slow-burning sensuality, manic energy, and clear-headed confidence. There are curveballs where the album gently swerves off-piste with groovy basslines and fairytale synths. It’s a virtuous work - not only does she have style and grace, but the vocal chops to bring all of her notes to life.
On our best albums of the year list, And Yet It’s All Love, arrives late to this little room. But in time to get our unlimited praise. Still to be discovered by many, Fatima has once again pushed boundaries, consolidating herself as one of the best contemporary voices.