An early contender for album of the year, Janelle Monae’s Archandroid may also be the most fully-realised debut from a female artist since The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. The influences — vintage Prince, Outkast at their craziest, even punk-rockabilly on Come Alive — come thick and fast, but tying it all together is Monae’s versatile voice. She careens from an opening rapid-fire funk workout (Dance Or Die) to a nine-minute show tune closer (Babopbye Ya), never sounding out of her depth.

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