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.


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)