Review: Kelis’ new album ‘Food’

Pop’s perennial outsider fuses soul and cooking with a leftfield spread that is sure to leave her listeners sated


Kelis’ frequent reinvention has never been one that guided a colossal turn in culture: for 15 years she’s shapeshifted through astral hip-hop, digitised reggae and provocative playground pop with little notable desire for megastar status (brushing aside 2010’s irksome EDM experiment).

So it’s unsurprising that while the rest of the pop scene is recreating the future RB she mastered on debut Kaleidoscope, Kelis instead retreats to a classic sound. With Dave Sitek on board — a producer who’s guiltier of the “stick a horn on it” method than Mark Ronson — her sixth fuses soul samples and cooking to create a mellifluous listen. While visions of suburban dinner parties devouring Jamie Oliver baba ghanoush are particularly palpable on Hooch, everything from the heavenly Floyd to the slightly sickly cover of Labi Siffre’s Bless theTelephone signal that she has matured into an artist at ease with her position as pop’s perennial outsider.