London-based soul singer Michael Kiwanuka possesses the indelible vocal chops that nearly guarantee a large and deserved audience. He is a terrific singer, recalling by turns Al Green, Otis Redding and even Harry Belafonte. On his full-length debut “Home Again,” Kiwanuka’s handsome, homespun tenor is the anchor for a collection of eclectic tunes that restlessly but effectively touch on folk, jazz and R&B. Best of all, in an era where over-the-top vocal exertions have become de rigueur in popular music, Kiwanuka is a master class in subtlety, consistently trusting his instincts and instrument in a manner reminiscent of past masters who understood that less is often more.
The opening track, “Tell Me a Tale,” finds the band in early Van Morrison mode, dexterously winding through a complex arrangement dotted with strings and woodwinds over a compelling jazz shuffle. Meanwhile, the lovely “Rest” lopes mournfully along, like an update of the Penn/Moman classic “Dark End of The Street.” The Brill Building-style, ersatz doo-wop of “Bones” reveals yet another side of Kiwanuka’s talent.