The title of MIA's fourth album is based on her name, rather than any newfound appreciation of Maori culture - and this self-focus could be an indication that success has spoiled her.
Her musical mash-ups are as wide-ranging as ever, but there are few directions that she hasn't already explored, and she veers between overcooking and undercooking the mixture. Between the extremes of the storming YALA and the dreamy Lights, there are highlights like Come Walk With Me's chunky reinvention of the 60s girl group spirit.
But she slips into unambitious mainstream R'n'B with numbers like Bad Girls, Bring the Noize and Know It Ain't Right (with a sprinkling of dancehall cliches in Double Bubble Trouble), and is guilty of lazy wordplay in aTENTion and the title track (which borrows from her old hits Boyz and Bird Flu).
MIA is still one of the most inventive musical talents out there, but she isn't testing boundaries the way she used to.
Best tracks: Come Walk With Me, YALA
Reviews by Nick Ward; CDs from Everyman, Nelson. More reviews at nelsonmail.co.nz.
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