Maiko Watson

Sweet Vibration (Labeame)


Rating: NNNN


Maiko Watson’s solo debut may be a total career reinvention. An alumna of the early-00s build-a-band Sugar Jones, Watson has stripped away all bubble-gum-pop sensibilities, instead letting her fantastic voice soar through soulful numbers like Haunting Me and the piano-driven Another Day.

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It’s hard to pull off a mature, engrossing album without coming off as contrived or sleep-inducing. But Watson’s songs don’t bash you over the head with bedroom clichĂ©s and are accessible enough for casual listeners of this genre. Watson, whose influences include Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight, has a sound that evokes classic soul but doesn’t ape it.

Top track: Haunting Me

Maiko Watson plays the Ossington tonight (Thursday, February 4).

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