uDlangamandla is Homes’ new moniker – a name change spurred on by his ever-evolving sonic identity and the desire to shift into something a little more authentic for this time in his life. Although it may have been some time coming – if his 2020 EP Dlangamandla had anything to do with it.
HEAL comes as a clarion call to do so, chronicling his own extensive healing journey from the myriad of setbacks life diligently provides. It’s steeped in hope and forward motion, appreciation for the lessons learned and the tools they gave him – wrapped in a visceral Afro-contemporary sound.
Opener “Heal” is the most traditionalist – hinged on Maskandi-esque guitar, echoing percussion, and richly delivered choral vocals, accompanied by Zamxolo. Modern synth lurks on the edges, though, lifting the track with subtle flair. The rousing, celebratory strains of “Ndibuyile” counter the gunshots which echo across the memoriam of “When Grief Calls”, while though it all uDlangamandla slips deftly between English and isiXhosa as he unspools narrative after visceral narrative.
That’s really where his true strength lies – within his effortless storytelling. “Thandi” reads like a tale of love and loss – which it is – championing one woman’s strength in spite of adversity. “Healing Phase” turns his balladry to objective appreciation, while “Age Old Say” stitches a handful of just those into a vibrant outro to a fresh start.
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Feature pic supplied by artist