This would be Mahalia’s difficult second album if only she’d ever made anything look difficult before. Her rise to the top tier of UK R&B has been one marked by an almost unnerving confidence, as she’s taken influences she’s too young to remember first time around – Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu – and melded them into her own assured, thoughtful and modern sound, as showcased on 2019’s debut album, Love and Compromise.
This follow-up comes with everything you’d expect from a newly-minted pop star’s second record; high production values, an all-star supporting cast and promises from the artist herself that this is a rawer and more intimate portrait than she’s painted before. In truth, though, it feels like more of the same, with huge-hitting summer singles like ‘Cheat’ and the maddeningly catchy ‘Terms and Conditions’ flanked by less striking material that can feel like much of a muchness. High-profile guest turns by the likes of Stormzy and Kojey Radical help to break things up, but there are otherwise few surprises on IRL; if you liked Love and Compromise, you’ll find yourself well-catered for.
Please support Loud And Quiet if you can
If you’re a fan of what we do, please consider subscribing to L&Q to help fund our support of new musicians and independent labels
You can make a big difference for a few pounds per month, and in return we’ll send you our magazines, exclusive flexi discs, and other subscriber bonus bits and pieces
Try for a month and cancel anytime