High-achiever Paloma Faith harks back to former idols of the silver screen and rulers of the music charts Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe and Nancy Sinatra, who also combined acting and singing careers with pert good looks and rambunctious personalities. Like these icons before her, Faith has the potential to become bigger than music… if only someone would write her some good material.
Paloma Faith is a conundrum. She is a half English, half Spanish, ginger-haired minx who dresses like Wilma Flintstone and at times sounds uncannily like the young Michael Jackson. A former magician’s assistant who stormed out of an audition for Epic Records and turned down the chance to join Amy Winehouse’s band, she certainly has spunk. But on this eagerly-awaited follow up to retro-lite debut Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful, Faith still seems to be unsure what kind of artist she is. When it’s so easy to compare her to Amy, Adele, Lana and Florence, you suspect Faith hasn’t quite found her own voice.
Opening song Picking Up The Pieces is a dramatic power-ballad where Faith compares herself to her lover’s ex-girlfriend and finds herself lacking. Though over-the-top, over-wrought and over-blown, it does prove what powerful pipes the lady has… though by the end of the album all the hollering wears a bit thin. Highlights are 30 Minute Love Affair, a synth-y, gently 80s track about a fleeting teenage crush that made a big impression, and the soulful Black And Blue where you see a glimpse of the artist who claims to be influenced by Billie Holiday and Etta James. Let Me Down Easy, the one song where Faith doesn’t have a writing credit, is a jazzy mood piece with trip-hop elements that seems like a more natural fit with Faith’s style than the insufferable ballads padding out the rest of the album.
Though Faith has the versatile voice, good looks, sexy vintage style and endearing personality to appeal to a wide range of people, Fall To Grace sounds like an album for teenagers. She belts out her songs with the gusto of an American Idol contestant, and her lyrics have the subtly of an average Year 11 English student. Paloma Faith has the potential to become an icon for our times… but only if someone writes her some decent songs.
Kathryn van Beek www.joyriderpromotions.com
Click here to listen to Black And Blue from Fall To Grace: