Maya Jane Coles - Comfort
Ecletic debut album feels like the arrival of an artist who’s set to gain a wider audience quickly
It was 2010 single ‘What They Say’, that prompted the dance music community to take notice of Maya Jane Coles. The tune’s organ riff quickly became an earworm for many a clubber while earlier, more dub-influenced remixes for the likes of Massive Attack and Gorillaz under the She Is Danger guise, proved there was more to her sound.
Despite the obvious affection for her largely instrumental house-driven sets, releases and remixes, both the lower tempo and introspective, contemplative mood of Comfort confirms that the 25-year old producer’s musical ambitions reach beyond the dancefloor. Though best known for instrumental productions, this not only features her vocals but also those of an impressive range and calibre of other artists, each providing their own distinctive contribution.
The haunting, tumbling synths, treated spoken lyrics and shuffling rhythms of the title track sets the mood nicely. Previous single ‘Easier to Hide’ then ups the BPMs to offer a laidback house groove featuring a chorus sung by Coles before Former Hercules and Love Affair member, Kim Ann Foxman, adds her voice to the compulsive melody of love song, ’Burning Bright’.
‘Dreamer’ has Coles singing over echoing synths, organ and violin, while ‘Blame’ offers an eerie, drawn-out guitar line over a hypnotic, trip hop-like backdrop. The addition of Nadine Shah’s vocal gives it a Massive Attack-like feel and at various points across Comfort, the band’s sound seems an influence.
Elsewhere, other highlights include ‘Fall from Grace’ with the yearning voice of Alpines stars and Tricky adding his unique tones to the unsettling atmosphere of ‘Wait for You’. Even the album’s most pop-like moments don’t disappoint: The Knife’s Karin Park singing on ‘Everything’ while Thomas Knights provides his soulful croon to ‘When I’m Love’. This debut album (on MJC’s own label, I/AM/ME) certainly feels like the arrival of an artist who’s set to gain a wider audience.