sun 20/08/2017

CD: Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar

CD: Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar

Can Beth Ditto still cut it now she's no longer the Gossip girl?

Gossip – the trio fronted by Beth Ditto from 1999 until last year – always felt a bit overshadowed by their 2006 breakthrough hit “Standing in the Way of Control”. It's understandable: it still stands up now as a bona fide banger, in original form or the Soulwax remix that soundtracked a million Skins trailers and captured a dayglo period when indie rock and rave culture were “having a bit of a moment” together, and it absolutely deserved its ubiquity. But it's also unfair, as Gossip were a force of nature live, made plenty of excellent records, and were generally way more than one-hit-wonders.

Now solo, Ditto has dialled the punk energy down a bit: early on in the album, rolling grooves seem to be the name of the game, and in particular the title track and “Savoir Faire” settle into the kind of sunshiney, soft-rock-meets-disco vibe that bearded Balearic DJs have found a rich seam in recent years. Later on, it rocks more – but it's a shiny, spandex-y, jacket-sleeves-rolled-up kind of rock: think Pat Benatar, Fleetwood Mac, early Eighties Rolling Stones and a little bit of Springsteen at his most populist.

It's basically all good: Ditto's soul-rock holler is distinctive and characterful enough to save the rock stuff from pastiche, and save the groovier tracks from ever becoming anodyne. On first listen the more sunny, dancey tracks feel like they could be from a different project to the rest – but then the Madonna-ish “Do You Want Me To” finds a middle ground and things fall into place. Maybe all of the pieces of her solo musical identity haven't completely settled into place yet, but this is a bold start by a musician clearly still in love with her medium.

It's a shiny, spandex-y, jacket-sleeves-rolled-up kind of rock

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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