"Our love is like the morning clouds," bursts the opener, with one mammoth swell of Laura Mvula's heavily multi-tracked, honey-doused, vocals. It's a grandiose, bold and classy introduction. An introduction akin, in fact, to a rogue wave made entirely of velvet, caressing rather than crashing, before the Björk-y trumpet parps and lush strings sweep a ballroom of rooted feet skywards. Needless to say, this is not the kind of off-kilter euphoria expected from, supposedly, the year's biggest MOR release – a release that's maker enjoyed BRITs Critics' Choice and BBC Sound of 2013 accolades and feels pre-destined to share a household CD rack with a copy of 'Our Version of Events'. Alas, this billing will perhaps be cause for a stubborn few to forego Sing To The Moon on principle; a crying shame, because beyond the Brummie's beautifully striking exterior and her inauguration into a group of rather vanilla peers, this is actually a brilliantly imaginative unveiling.

Single 'Green Garden' is as good a starting point as any; an initially odd combination that sees her ooze Nina Simone-like class over jangly glockenspiels, handclaps and Imogen Heap-ish autotune. It's infectious, but restrained and subtle, and there's a refreshing sense that she never harbours any bullish aspirations to lodge its sparse, progressive hook down your throat. She, instead, lets it groove organically, always veering away from obvious developments, over-cluttering or the injection of elaborate refrains. In fact, its this ability to swerve the obvious that proves the real draw from start to finish here and it's ultimately something that's even true of the albums more nostalgic or conventional moments. After all, the candlelit gospel of 'Father, Father' and its inescapable religious overtones could be a snooze-inducing and frankly nauseating affair, but it's Mvula's jazzy inflections, offbeat timing and unexpected offshoots that make it obliquely irresistible. Similarly, the title track's pin-drop verses, soaring chorus and spiralling, skiffle-y drums could be the recipe for bland and forgettable bombast, but once again her mildly eccentric and loose style seems to steer it from ever sounding tired or, worse, derivative.

Closer 'Diamonds' twinkles elegantly; another slowburner that's otherworldly charm can't fail to hypnotise, providing a cosmic climax to a rich and cinematic record. Her vocal talent may have already demonstrated irrefutable quality, but Sing To The Moon shows songwriting nous that is light-years ahead of the new class of 2013.