Kelis reverses field from 2010’s EDM-influenced “Flesh Tone” with this fine, sensual R&B-based album, produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. The singer-songwriter, who is a trained chef and gave us the delirious, sex-infused “Milkshake,” understands the intimate connection between food and desire: Our lives are often defined by our appetites. Many tracks on “Food” evoke throwback soul (“Jerk Ribs,” “Breakfast”), but there are none of the contrived conventions many other acts have used with this approach. Kelis simmers and burns in these rhythmic, horn-driven tracks. Her vocals have a raw immediacy; when she sings, “You can’t escape the grips of desire” on the noir-ish “Change,” the heat is palpable. “Floyd” is a grand seduction filled with sly come-ons. The disc shifts moods and modes, reflecting on love, lust, and loss while dipping into Afro-beat and funk (“Friday Fish Fry”). She even augments it with an affecting, tender cover of Labi Siffre’s “Bless the Telephone.” As Kelis herself once said, “Tasty.” (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Friday Fish Fry”Ken Capobianco can be reached at email@example.com.