Steeped in the unplugged soul vibe of Terry Callier, Van Morrison and the music Otis Redding didn't live to make after "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," Michael Kiwanuka is a former London session guitarist who flashes a gentle spirit and a voice like hash smoke on this debut album. Credit its lushness – more indelible than the songs themselves – in part to producer Paul Butler of U.K. indie-rock maximalists the Bees, who helped build remarkable multitrack orchestrations with just a handful of players. See "Bones," with its strings and Jordanaires-style vocals, and "I Won't Lie," whose chord changes recall the holiday hymn "O Come All Ye Faithful" – perfect for a record that radiates like a yule log.
Listen to 'Home Again':
• Photos: Random Notes