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Camila stamps her heart all over this seductive debut

REVIEW

Camila Cabello: Camila

★★★★✩

IF YOU’RE looking to stamp your identity on a record — or a child — you can’t go far wrong than by naming it after yourself; and that’s exactly what former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello has done with her baby- slash-debut album Camila.

Forget the co-writers and the army of production staff, this is the Camila show. She’s shaken off the bombastic R&B favoured by the 5H crew in favour of a short, sweet album of fairly understated Latin pop and classic pop ballads.

And in case there was any doubt about who’s calling the shots, there’s even a track called She Loves Control about a bossy girl who ‘wants it her way’ or she’ll split.

Like last year’s mega-hit Havana, the bangers tend to come with a twinge of longing.

Into It — a sort of half-price version of Ariana Grande’s Into You (which is still a substantial compliment) — is a weirdly polite invitation to have sex that seems to suggest the person being propositioned will say no. The Reggaeton-influenced dominance bop of She Loves Control and steel-pan sex jam Inside Out suggest that Cabello is enjoying her freedom and, unlike a lot of pop albums, they aren’t drowned out by ballads.

Her voice is at its most interesting on Consequences — unadorned, unpolished, but each song places Cabello at the centre of attention.

The tracks that slink beneath her voice are sparse and quiet.

It’s often just a guitar or a piano that fits into the spaces between Carey-esque melismas, Rihanna-style growls and sweet, almost angelic upper registers.

Like its songs, Camila doesn’t outstay its welcome, instead leaving you wanting just a little bit more — if you’re into it.