thu 20/02/2020

CD: Paloma Faith - The Architect | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Paloma Faith - The Architect

CD: Paloma Faith - The Architect

More orchestral OTT drama from Britain's queen of theatrical pop

In pieces about the state of the nation

Over the last few months Paloma Faith has been talking up her fourth album, The Architect. There were self-perpetuated rumours of her rockin’ out, going off at a completely fresh musical angle, with lyrical content that sidestepped pop's usual concerns in favour of tackling societal issues and the state of things in our fucked-up world. Sounded good. However, a couple of clips of chatting about our duty to the welfare state and such, one featuring the writer Owen Jones, does not a political album make. In fact The Architect is business as usual, a continuation of the last album and not really very different from it at all.

Since she first appeared eight years ago, Paloma Faith has been the freaky-deaky theatrical alternative for girl-pop lovers, neither as raw as Adele or as plastic (and sex-obsessed) as Rihanna. She’s a very British sort of pop star, a colourful eccentric, deeply dipped in art and cabaret traditions, also inclined towards old-fashioned pre-rock’n’roll ideals of popular music. The Architect is lathered in orchestral bombast, assisted by David Arnold, with other contributors including ultra-mainstream super-producers/songwriters such as Sia, Starsmith and Jesse Shatkin. Apart from opening with a Samuel L Jackson monologue, the album’s first half is, then, rather predictable, with Seventies-LA-Motown opulence on cuts such “I’ll Be Gentle” and “Crybaby” (the former featuring John Legend), and Amy Winhouse-meets-Shirley Bassey epics like “Guilty”, alongside the giganto-pop monster “Warrior”.

However, during the album’s second half Faith hits a gold run of tunes, notably the funkin’ furious – and possibly even loosely political! – “WW3”, the chugging and vast “Still Around”, and the beatsy, solid Memphis-style soul-pop of “Lost and Lonely”. The Architect, then, is not exactly a departure from anything Paloma Faith has done in the past, which is a shame as she clearly has the creative potential to push boundaries, but for those who already count themselves as fans, there’s enough to here please.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Crybaby" by Paloma Faith

A couple of clips of chatting about our duty to the welfare state and such, one featuring the writer Owen Jones, does not a political album make


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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