Album review: Paloma Faith - A Perfect Contradiction
PUBLISHED: 07:30 17 March 2014
Third outing for the girl who clearly wants - and arguably deserves - more than Motown re-rubs and peppy wronged-woman rants. Maybe next time?
Hackney’s retro-soul-pop pipistrel is at it again on this third album, mining Motown’s gloomiest fissures for inspiration, this time with the help of songwriter Dianne Warren, Plan B and John Legend among others.
Toeing the line of approachably-kooky artiste, A Perfect Contradiction presents a set of MOR soul-pop and ‘70s disco dressed to varying degrees with glossy, persuasive production.
The odd one out is whip-cracking lead single Can’t Rely On You, for which Pharrell Williams nicks his own drumstick clicks off Blurred Lines and puts them to far better use, the crisp beats popping off a hollerin’, fiery Faith who’s franky had it up to here.
And throughout she gamely channels the despair and heartache of a woman dumped, disrespected and disappointed with her sweet, lightly-smoked vocals while well-trodden treatments make for a somewhat saggy final third.
Some of its best moments hide in the Deluxe Edition’s alternate versions; raw emotion surges forth when Only Love Can Hurt Like This is stripped-back to piano and vocals, and the live take of the riotous, high-octane Trouble With My Baby transcends the cliches of the studio version’s sub-Cee-Lo shake-out.
On the whole, though, this record’s too safe for the boundary-pushing vanguard she seems to aspire to - see the cloying heartache of The Bigger You Love (The Harder You Fall) and early-’90s, by-numbers dance of Impossible Heart for proof.