Album review: Jain’s Zanaka bursting with ideas and styles

Jain's voice can go anywhere and adapt to all kinds of tricky beats and rhythms – something the dazzling Zanaka delivers in spades.

Zanaka

Jain

(Spookland)

Four stars

French singer Jain’s second release is bursting at the seams with ideas and styles, ranging from rock, funk, reggae and trip-hop. The whole album is anchored by the 23-year-old’s quirky jazzy vocals, which are fashioned to add rhythm – that is just as well, given that the English lyrics are mostly ­nonsensical.

The opener, Come, begins with marching flamenco riffs before segueing into a bobbing rock-steady beat and electronic bleeps – all in the first 30 seconds. Heads Up is a heady brew of tropical rhythms reminiscent of fellow sonic adventurer M.I.A.

The highlight, Mr Johnson, is crying out for a favourable tweet from a superstar to give it the widespread attention that it deserves.

The loping bass line and Jain's inflected reggae delivery are spot on and the earworm chorus is pure candy. The acoustic All My Days places Jain's voice front and centre.

Warm yet zany, her vocals and phrasing puts her somewhere between Björk and Florence Welch. Simply put, it can go anywhere and adapt to all kinds of tricky beats and rhythms – something the dazzling Zanaka delivers in spades.