If you’ve heard any of her songs, you’ll know that Kadhja Bonet doesn’t feel like she’s of this earth. A fact that she probably seems aware of, given her first mini-album is titled The Visitor and starts with a twinkling, cosmic instrumental that heralds her landing on this planet with utter grace.
But when she starts Honeycomb, it’s apparent that the other world we mean is more temporal rather than celestial. Hers is a sound that belongs in the cinematic 70s of soul, taking in inspiration from both old-school Meiko Kaji (the “sakura, sakura” refrain making it plain on Fairweather Friend) and modern-day Tarantino for a concoction that’s rather quite delicious.
Bonet, like ALA.NI this year, takes her inspiration from the past rather than what’s around her right now. Strings abound at the start of the title track, while choir harmonies lift her ever so gently around the small moments of magic she creates in this meticulously polished snowglobe. And where ALA.NI seeks inspiration more in European jazz and black & white decades, Bonet wraps herself round that grainy, technicolour film history that her Californian home is steeped in (particular on songs like Gramma Honey).
In that respect, it’s not unfair to say there’s minimal comparison to what Kadhja Bonet does at the moment. There’s a tiny sense of the Jools Holland-baiting twee about it, but her canvas is created with such obvious reverence and a deep musical pallet (the layers in Portrait of Tracy are a wonder) that it’s hard not to love. Whether this sense of nostalgia will sustain her beyond The Visitor remains to be seen, but we certainly recommend letting this right one in to stay with you for quite some time.