Kadhja Bonet’s second album can only be described in terms of colour. The sumptuous arrangements soar in deep paisleys; the classical strings are drenched in Disney rainbows; and the LA musician’s octave swooping voice is the warm orange of sun-baked earth.
‘Childqueen’’s ten tracks display the kind of vintage soul and funk that in an alternative world would have seen her collaborating with Prince (in common with whom she writes, plays and produces everything here). It’s also the kind of release that provides the flipside of Janelle Monae: where she turns similar influences towards a futuristic world of dirty computers, Bonet looks firmly back to the Age Of Aquarius.
Within the first two minutes of the album opening there’s a flute solo, followed shortly afterwards by vibes and a chattering dawn chorus. An album of earthy concerns and positivity, her new age adages promise the listener that ‘Every morning brings a chance to renew’ (over the chilled drummer’s march of ‘Procession’) and that ‘Everybody knows everybody’s got a second wind’ (the supple soul of ‘Second Wind’).
With vocals that effortlessly soar into a range only detectable by bats on the Blaxploitation funk of ‘Mother Maybe’, and that are heavily syncopated on the title track’s drifting mood piece, the album creates a beautifully insular world of a more innocent time. The problem is that it’s so disconnected from present day that it’s more like unearthing a lost soul classic than a genuinely new release.