mia-matangi

As it’s nearly two years since material from ‘Matangi’ started ricocheting around the Internet and Maya Arulpragasam herself remains hell bent on retaining guerrilla control over the distribution of her music, the fanfare surrounding a ‘new album’ (her fourth) seems slightly daft. This is more like a leggy mix-tape anyway, an unedited zip-file of everything that’s occupying the motley orbit of her brain; collaborations with The Weeknd and Hit Boy, the louche, palpitating anthem ‘Bad Girls’, lyric ideas courtesy of Julian Assange and a reworking of Shampoo’s ’90s nonsense hit ‘Trouble’.

While the track list remains as mercurial and baffling as her public persona, you can count on it being instantaneously and unmistakably MIA. That voice; the globalised, sonic head-fuckery; the taunting, snarling, girl-gang manifestos. It’s all there, totally assured and self-possessing, right down to the title, which references Arulpragasam’s Hindu goddess namesake. It’s not easy to keep a handle on over 15 songs, but the front end of the album is packed with belters, the title track listing country names like an unforgettable playground mnemonic and ‘Warriors’ flitting between lyrical salvo and Bhangra bliss out.

It’s not all gold but, on form, both she and it are infinitely more vibrant, hook-heavy, idea-crammed and ferally danceable than anything else you’ve heard, well, probably in the last two years.

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