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.
|Sound System [Box Set] - The Clash|
|The Warner Bros. Years [Box Set] - Steve Earle|
|American Radical Patriot [Box Set] - Woody Guthrie|
|Live at the Academy of Music 1971 - The Band|
|Higher! [Box Set] - Sly & the Family Stone|
|The Island Years [Box Set] - John Martyn|
|Spaces - Nils Frahm|
|The Finer Things - The State Champs|
|Moondance [Deluxe Edition] - Van Morrison|
|12 Stories - Brandy Clark|
|Loud City Song - Julia Holter|
|Memorial - Russian Circles|
|In Utero [20th Anniversary Edition] - Nirvana|
|The RCA Albums Collection - Harry Nilsson|
|All Hail West Texas [Reissued] - The Mountain Goats|
|Virgins - Tim Hecker|
|Is Survived By - Touche Amore|
|American Ride - Willie Nile|
|Bowler Hat Soup - Kiran Leonard|
|Made in California [Box Set] - The Beach Boys|