Lovers Rock rewards listeners who skipped past the pop anthems, trap-styled productions, and retro-house grooves of True Romance to reach the comparatively traditional soul and reggae tracks toward that album's end.
One strain of the latter genre -- indeed lovers rock, characterized by its sweet-to-bittersweet romantic lyrical themes and lithe riddims -- provides the title and key inspiration behind Estelle's fifth album.
Throughout, Estelle writes in the first person, inspired by the up-and-down (and ultimately up) love story of her mother and father.
At the same time, she draws from her own life as an adult who has had to deflect role players -- from neglectful lovers to judgmental strangers -- similar to those her mother has faced.
Estelle's creative energy is manifest here, so much so that the constant rotation of featured guests becomes a distraction.
Still, this is a ceaselessly melodious and proud batch of lovers rock and dancehall, easily the singer and songwriter's best album since Shine.
The latter half, featuring a couple eyelash-batting numbers made with Andre "Dre" Harris, is particularly strong.