“Manchester’s answer to Aretha Franklin.” Tony Wilson, Factory Records
“Kyla Brox knows how to handle the gears… the Mancunian vocalist lets songs percolate, raising the temperature by degrees, then giving it both barrels in the final stretch. It’s a thrilling tactic.” Henry Yates, The Blues Magazine
“An authentic soul diva… sensitive, sexy, and with infinite reserves of sassiness” City Life
Winner of the European Blues Challenge 2019 & the UK Blues Challenge 2018 and daughter of cult blues figure, Victor Brox, recently released her ninth album, Pain & Glory.
Kyla has been a professional musician since the age of twelve – first in her father, Victor Brox‘s band, then striking out on her own – and her latest album, Pain & Glory, represents the culmination of a quarter of a century’s experience on the road and in the studio. The variety and depth of her vocal performances have grown year on year and are given a superb setting in this album’s sweeping landscape of soul, blues, urban R&B, blues-rock, and singer-songwriter pop of the highest class.
The collection opens with the joyous ‘For The Many’, replete with Stevie Wonder-style clavinet sounds from keyboardist John Ellis, and a politically progressive lyrical sentiment which is emblematic of Kyla’s generosity, humanity and proud optimism throughout this collection.
Highlights abound: the retro-soul, slow-burn balladry and melodic momentum of the title track; the jubilant R&B of ‘Choose Life’; ‘In The Morning’ is a swaggering, sensual blues shuffle; ‘Manchester Milan’, unfurls as a wistful, sophisticated meditation on a cosmopolitan affaire d’amour; Lover’s Lake has the gentle, inviting pulse of a Fleetwood Mac b-side; while the hot funk of ‘Let You Go’ flames with righteous Girl Power brio.
Two tracks perhaps deserve extra-special mention. Firstly, the swingin’, jivin’, ‘Bluesman’s Child’ which documents Kyla’s teenage years of singing with her father’s band. A bit of background: in the early ’60s her dad, Victor Brox formed the Victor Brox Blues Train with singer Annette Reis, who would become Kyla’s mother. They were, perhaps, the first interracial band on the scene, Annette having been born in Stockport of African-Canadian, English and Nigerian heritage. Victor went on to the influential Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation drawing the admiration of Jimi Hendrix, who dubbed Victor his “favourite white voice”. Robert Plant was also a teenage fan. Kyla sometimes performs with Victor and Annette to this day.
Secondly, classic-in-waiting, ‘Don’t Let Me Fall’ wields seriously radio-friendly soul-pop heft, as Kyla builds from a crooning start to an astonishing crescendo where she sings without the brakes on. It is a truly thrilling aural experience.
Such a treasure shines all the brighter in being supported by a superb team – Kyla’s brother, Sam Brox of Dust Junkys fame produces empathetically with help from Kyla herself and her husband, co-writer and bassist Danny Blomeley – it is indeed, a family affair. John Ellis (Honeyfeet, The Cinematic Orchestra, Lily Allen etc), plays keys with alchemical excellence; in-the-pocket drummer Mark Warburton is a master of economy; Paul Farr (Corinne Bailey Rae, Joss Stone, Tom Jones) is an enchantingly fluent guitarist; while the renowned Haggis Horns – proclaimed “the best horn section in the world” by Mark Ronson – create a further dimension to these already finely crafted, appealing songs with their mellifluous and punchy arrangements.
You can experience the album live this July as Kyla plays at The Basement as a duo.
You can buy tickets by clicking below.