THE biggest question has been will Nathi manage to escape the second album curse that usually haunts genius debut albums with a lot of artists, in his case, the monster single
Nomvula and the best-selling Buyel’ekhaya.
The sound is definitely different on Umbulelo Wam. He has gone more jazzy, especially on tracks like Amalongwe, Umphefumlo Wam and Sabela, and there is no trace of the Jaziel Brothers DNA that permeated Buyel’ekhaya.
It’s also telling of his state of mind when you notice how many love songs dominate this release. He got married in May and from the opener
Amagama, he already waxes lyrical about the love of his love and takes it a notch up on Ukuthanda Wena and Uthando Lwam. The laidback La La La is so easy on the ear and mellow, it comes close enough to the magic Nomvula created.
On Abantu Balendawo, he laments the jealousy successful people are subjected to in their home towns. Qathule is fun and lively. While Ubuntu is such an uplifting song, the content paints a gloomy picture of a people who’ve lost their way.
Inyembezi is easily the most powerful moment in the album; it is well produced and beautifully sung.
Nathi has taken a different direction, but this has not been disappointing. He has avoided the second album curse because he still delivers solid music, perhaps with less popular appeal.
Verdict: Very Good