Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pop Cd's of the Week

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pop Cd's of the Week

Article excerpt


Frank Black Honeycomb (Cooking Vinyl) ****

WITHOUT his fellow Pixies, Frank Black has spent 12 years and nine albums struggling to carve out a solo identity.

The recent successful reunion of his old band has resurrected him artistically and encouraged him to shed the past and take chances at last.

As a result, Honeycomb sounds nothing like the half-hearted attempt to emulate Pixies which has ruined most of his solo work. Instead, Black has slowed things down, taken a quiet but lucid approach and made his finest, most unselfconscious post-Pixies album.

The sound takes its cue from Americana, but his songwriting, particularly on the crisp Selkie Bride and the winsome My Life Is in Storage, is inspired, while covers of the shockingly lonely standard Dark End of the Street and Elvis Presley's rarely heralded Song of the Shrimp simply add to the feel of a man finally at ease with himself.

Chantal Chamandy Love Needs You (Ninemuse) ***

Born in Egypt, raised in Canada and apparently capable of singing in five languages, Chantal Chamandy is patently a woman of the world - and Love Needs You spends most of its 14 tracks trying to prove it.

Thus, it flits between the souk on the thrilling single You Want Me, the bed on the sultry, westernised More and a host of tongues and musical styles in between.

Alas, what promises to be a debut to savour loses its way when Chamandy surrenders to bland MOR and a seeming desire to become the Elaine Paige of the Nile, especially on the ghastly Free.

At her best, though, on You Want Me and Crazy, Chamandy mixes East and West to emerge as a strutting talent who exudes both breathy sensuality and vocal control worthy of Celine Dion. Surely there is much more to come from her.

Fat Joe All Or Nothing Atlantic ***

After nearly a decade of knocking out serious gangsta music, the rotund Puerto Rican from the Bronx earned major chart success in 2002 with What's Luv, his first dalliance with dance beats and singsong choruses. …

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