Izzi Dunn – Recycled Love review

You may not know Izzi Dunn by name, but you have likely felt the impact of her strings contributions to songs by Jamie T, Little Simz, Roots Manuva, Cody Chestnutt, and long-time collaborator Damon Albarn (Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen), among others. Recycled Love is the third album from the London singer-songwriter, and it’s chock-full of subtle emotion, catchy melodies and striking turns of phrase about life, love and belonging.

Dunn is not known for her lyricism. Yet she has always been an extremely gifted songwriter, sparking flashes of experiences many can relate to through her succinct verses (‘All Good Things’, ‘Cries & Smiles’). Gliding between the softness of Sophie Barker (Zero 7) and the theatricality of Paloma Faith, her vocals are sublime.

On Recycled Love, you’re never far away from emotion and imagery that’s expressed with relatable eloquence. On ‘Our Time’, Dunn quips: “we’re all just kings and queens on rented thrones”. Over the lethargic noir tones of ‘Pyro’, she says: “lust keeps us manipulated by the fear… so complicit, but who’s to blame? / We all play with fire, then pray for rain”. This delicate poetry is weaved throughout, especially on lead single ‘Belong’, blues groove ‘Devices’ and the title track.

It’s themes and lyricism aren’t the only things marking Recycled Love out of from the pack. Produced by Dunn and UK-based producer Dego, you’ll find hyperactive funk (‘C.O.N.T.R.O.L.’), puffs of brass (‘Look Up to the Sky’), a sprinkling light dance loops, and modest amounts of cello accompaniment (‘Lady’). All of this makes for a stimulating, conscious and unexpectedly spirited album.

Singing about social unrest, the struggle to survive city life and our relationship to those closest to us, Recycled Love is Dunn’s boldest work yet. This album is just as much as about galvanising ideas and mobilising people as it is about elevating your senses and appreciating your loved one. A triumph of imagination and execution.

4/5

Recycled Love is out now. You can purchase the album here.

If you like this artist, check out: Esperanza Spalding; Natasha Watts

Image: James Mooney (Point Shoot Think)