Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
12:00 AM 18th May 2024

Albums: Shaznay Lewis Pages

Shaznay Lewis Pages

Missiles; Pick You Up (ft. Self Esteem); Kiss Of Life; Good Mourning (ft. Shola Ama & General Levy); Supposed To Be; Got To Let Go; Tears To The Floor; Bruises; Peaches; Awake (Motu); Miracle; Hearts In Danger

Label: Absolute

Shaznay Lewis is three decades into a recording career. With one solo album under her belt, she is best known for her work with the multi-Platinum, multi-award-winning All Saints, who have five studio albums to their name. With the group currently on hiatus once again, Lewis has the time to re-focus her energies on her solo career, which she first launched 20 years ago with the album Open.

Lewis had teased her return to the solo realm earlier this year with the single Miracle, her first single since 2004's You, and it was clear that she was about to re-arrive on the scene stronger than ever before. With compelling lyrics and a strong sound, this was not Lewis trying to capture her All Saints glory or simply pick up where Open left off; this was Lewis in 2024.

Three singles have since made their way into the public consciousness. These singles include the truly lush Kiss of Life, the pop gem Got To Let Go, and the radio-dominating anthem Good Mourning. With all four of the songs showcasing a slightly different sound, the question remains what the album, Pages, will sound like.

Pages is a diverse collection. Each new song brings a new sound, but the whole body still feels cohesive. This is Lewis in reflective mode, but it is her inner strength and determination that shine through the recording.

Opening with the fiery bite of Missiles, Pages does have a pop sensibility but is fuelled by retro soul sounds, polished R&B, and stunning strings. Throughout the record's 12 songs, we experience pulsating beats on the epic Tears to the Floor and heartbreaking introspection on the raw Bruises.

With the album building to the explosive Hearts in Danger, this is a record that offers twists and turns without ever losing sight of the end goal. Shaznay Lewis explores her inner soul, but she knows that to have an impact, she needs to offer her listeners a true connection. All 12 songs hit that mark in their own unique way, and the underlying pop sensibility means they each stand out brightly solo but are enhanced by the album experience.

Shaznay Lewis has long been celebrated as one of the music world’s fine writers, but Pages proves she more than packs a punch as a solo artist.

Stunning from start to finish.