A collection that is incredible at times, but more a taster of something bigger to come.
Natalie Shaw 2011
Donae’o’s debut album Party Hard arrived like a thunderbolt in 2009, representing a turning point for an artist who had spent years dominating the UK underground. Riot Music, the anthem that it birthed, brought the fever of his 2002 UK garage classic Falling bang up to date – blinding enough to erase the memory of years lost under record label red-tape.
This MC/singer’s tendency to fidget has been his crowning glory over the last 10 years – and in spite of his new-found mainstream glory (remixing David Guetta and producing Yasmin), Indigo Child is no less loose. Even if it’s more focused on love than we’re used to, it’s an insight into an ever-interesting mind.
The title Indigo Child – a label given to children with special, unusual and/or supernatural traits or abilities – is a tad overjustificatory of the man’s restlessness. Billed as an alternative to ADHD medication (from which Donae’o suffers), though it is, that’s no get-out clause for the amount of filler on this album. Move to da Gyal Dem’s outro is in need of a closer shave, while Where’s My Money At (WMMA) limps towards the end from its opening notes.
This isn’t a slight on Donae’o’s restlessness – the way he obsesses over situations and, more basely, fills silences with "simmeh now" and "zoom zoom zoom" sounds, are utterly distinctive. But while his inflections are second nature, it’s this album’s more proactive moments that stand out. The over-the-topness of Universe is a highlight, its longing and desperation immacultely positioned under a descending, bluesy chords sequence. "I’m gonna give you my all / Gonna give you my universe," he pleads – and it’s sung as longingly as it reads.
Number 1 sees Donae’o giggling between passages of retro-fetishist Spanish guitar, while When Angels Sing bathes in love as giddily as Minnie Ripperton’s Loving You. It makes little sense then that Honey follows, an extended chat-up line which manages to do an unexpected 360. Indigo Child racks up the rollercoasters, but Donae’o isn’t silly – his oversexualised desperation is his albatross.
With self-doubt on one side and a playful sense of humour on the other, Donae’o is an intensely likeably character. He’s certain to rack up yet more loyal fans with this collection, which is incredible at best but, in its more meandering moments, a mere teaser collection for something bigger.