Speech Therapy has a lot going for it: it's a solid confessional debut about the singer's experiences as a black South Londoner, the backing tracks are inventive jazzy jams played by sympathetic musicians, and the upshot is an uncompromising suite of female-empowerment snapshots.
Fortunately, whether she's sifting through the anguish she's caused her mother and the trouble she's having finishing her album, or realizing that good sex can make for bad boyfriends and that even sucky jobs serve some cosmic purpose, she generally cuts through the crap without pretending to have easy answers.
The music on her debut, craftily produced in the main by Wayne Lotek, is acoustic, jazz-inspired and, on songs like Spinning, quite beautiful; not something that can be said too often about debut UK hip-hop albums. Consider Debelle's couplets for too long, however, and they can start to seem platitudinous.
|Lucinda Williams [Reissue] - Lucinda Williams|
|American Radical Patriot [Box Set] - Woody Guthrie|
|The Satanist - Behemoth|
|Live at the Academy of Music 1971 - The Band|
|The Island Years [Box Set] - John Martyn|
|Places of Worship - Arve Henriksen|
|The Finer Things - The State Champs|
|In Utero [20th Anniversary Edition] - Nirvana|
|Spaces - Nils Frahm|
|No Depression [Legacy Edition] - Uncle Tupelo|
|St. Vincent - St. Vincent|
|High Land, Hard Rain [30th Anniversary Edition] - Aztec Camera|
|Moondance [Deluxe Edition] - Van Morrison|
|Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side [Reissue] - The Bottle Rockets|
|12 Stories - Brandy Clark|
|There's a Dream I've Been Saving: 1966-1971 - Lee Hazlewood|
|Memorial - Russian Circles|
|Haiti Direct: Big Band, Mini Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds, 1960-1978 - Various Artists|
|The River & the Thread - Rosanne Cash|
|Benji - Sun Kil Moon|