samedi 30 juillet 2011

Peter Wilson's second album will get you retro-intoxicated by the 90's PWL sound

It is finally (high)time I post my review for fellow Hit Factory forum-mate Peter Wilson's second released album, Stereo, that is out on iTunes
or on manufactured CDR +bonus disc full of remixes via his label (
I already owned his first one, Follow me, released on Klone Records in 2007 with the Boney M sampled single Doin' fine and cherished the Steen Ulrich remix in the style of Stock Aitken & Waterman of I wanna dance as well as the other one he produced in that PWL style, I love you unashamed, so it is with great anticipation that I was a-waiting for this new album recorded with Matt Pop, the one and only european producer that mixes as if he was Pete Hammond and Phil Harding united in the same person for retro-PWL remixes of pure bliss.

Between these two CDs, Peter Wilson has emerged as a new force in underground pop/dance production teams, working with songwriting & production partner Chris Richards inside their T1 alias, for Haywoode, Carol Jiani & Evelyn Thomas (Are you man enough), Samantha Fox & Sabrina on their cover of Blondie's Call me or Amanda Lear on her Brand new love affair 2009 album. But when his brand new single Intoxicated was released last year, along Matt Pop, I felt something even better was coming. Co-written by the australian partners with their new production friend, it was a clear move in the right direction, taking from where Peter left with Klone, 90's influenced euro-pop, and into a clearer direction, aiming at recreating the sound Peter Wilson or Matt Pop (such as I) fell in love when they were younger, the PWL sound, made of Stock Aitken & Waterman songs/production with genius mixes by MixMasters Pete Hammond and Phil Harding... In that sense, Intoxicated was perfect as leading single for the forthcoming album ; the inspiration was clear but well incorporated with today's sound, so that it would not be taken for a full-on retro number.

Stereo starts with Intoxicated in full glory and even though it hasn't been the breakthrough hit Peter Wilson deserved, it is the better way to let this brand new CD start to play. Included as a bonus is its remix by none others than Dave Ford & Ian Curnow, the PWL ex-partners, on their Back to the Borough remix that takes the sound right back to 1988/90 with full PWL treatment, like Pete Hammond and his recent retro remixes succeeds in. It has been the start of a new dream story for Peter Wilson as the duo has collaborated more with him on his album, producing and even co-writing with him, but we'll see more of this later.
Second track is another Matt Pop production that was co-written with Peter Wilson, Walk the night, and it sounds very reminiscent of the first album, with Italodance/Eurobeat inspiration, and definitely retro 80's. The arrangements are really haunting on the verses but the chorus is strong and appealing, although not enough for me to become a single.
The new single and real treat comes next, with a song called Twenty four seven whose credits must have driven every Hit factory forum member mad even before listening to it : "written by Stock/Aitken, produced by Dave Ford & Ian Curnow and mixed by "Mixmaster" Dave Ford" says the CD inlay and it is like it were PWL times again ! Alas not, the song is only a re-interpretation of an unreleased one that Mike Stock & Matt Aitken wrote in their Love This Records days and that was recorded by a stranger dude called Dean Cohen. The demo version of the song was airplayed on fan's radioshow sometimes but remains unreleased to these days so this new version with full PWL producers sounded like heaven on earth ...and it truly IS ! Peter Wilson's version sounds a lot more PWL-ish and HITmade than Dean's mellow original. It seems it is the new forthcoming single (along with a new track Broken man as B-side) and I wonder if Matt Pop is gonna give it a hand for a mix or two too. Not that Dave Ford & Ian Curnow's work ain't my cup of tea, but they've updated their sound for the new millenium and the song doesn't sound that much retro PWL to me, more into the late 90's PWL productions. I like it a lot and can't wait for the official releases to download the new remixes for it !
On track 4 is the current second single off the album and the other Ford/Curnow production that gave its name to the CD, Stereo. This is the one Peter Wilson co-wrote with Dave Ford and Ian Curnow and whoever came with it, it has the magic "I-iaïaïï... woa-iaïaïï" vocal gimmick that gets stuck in your head and makes this song addictive and dangerous like poison : once you've listened to it, for the whole day you've got it in the head ! That is a hit and I can't be wrong about that... The remix package includes a Matt Pop retro stereo remix that gives the song a 300% PWL sound from 1988/89 and I only regret there hasn't been a radio version of that remix. Peter Wilson & Chris Richards' T1 astral flight remix makes it trancey and clubby for continental clubs and the Glamma club mix just takes it to club heaven. But thu shall not forget the original Ford/Curnow long play that clocks at 7'07 and is included in the album's bonus CD too.
Next is another 90's PWL inspired upbeat except the song soon sounds more like a Modern Talking/PWL crossover like Dieter Bohlen used to write for his Blue System project in the 90's... And truth is Tell me the truth IS a Dieter Bohlen song he wrote in 1991 for Bonnie Tyler and her Bitter blue album, except Peter Wilson's voice sounds a lot better than her (or Dieter's if he had sung it) and the Matt Pop production makes it the perfect follow-up hit single release for me. It could really be big in Germany and nearby countries where this sound has always been high in the charts. The Matt Pop's nothing but the truth remix sounds perfect too while the classic 12'' mix is less retro and I really hope all Modern Talking/Blue System fans will buy Peter's album just for these gems ! They'll like the rest of it too, for sure.
Time for a new Peter Wilson/Matt Pop composition and One starts nicely, with electronic sounds and arrangements that remind me of Erasure for once. I think it takes too long before the chorus finally comes but then it didn't grab me neither and I feel at nearly 5'30 that this song is just an album track, a try into a different territory. When the break comes, it definitely sounds even more like Erasure so I guess it was another inspiration the duo had in mind when they wrote this one. Peter's vocal range shines extremely well on this one though and there's no doubt he is a talented singer too !
The other track that has surely set the Hit factory fans on fire was Peter's cover version of Haywoode's Stock/Aitken/Waterman hit from 1986, You better not fool around, with full Mel & Kim-a-like retro production by another PWL Mixmaster, Pete Hammond himself, and in full length glory, with an album version of 7'49. Poor me who likes radio edits over original 12'' :(. But there's nearly no annoying time thanks to the two Pete's talents. I'd love to see it get a single release too, so that a more radio friendly edited version sees the light of day, as well as more remixes, even though this original sounds perfect, as if he was Hit Factory made and recorded at the PWL studios back in the days, and just re-discovered from the original tapes and released now...
Next is another Peter Wilson/Matt Pop composition and it could sound difficult to face the comparaison after such a masterpiece but I live for love, although it starts a little too gimmickly with distorted sounds, lives up to the model and is a very good slice of dance/pop, upbeat and fun, with good chorus and strong vocals. I only would have loved the Matt Pop production to be more PWL inspired on that one, as the acid distorted synthé loops that are completely invading the song at moments are very boring, even at first listen. It is a shame 'cos I love the song a lot...
Thankfully, an even better track follows, and Heart beat fast shares with the previous song its better things, a good rhythm, a killer chorus, but with a full retro PWL beat a la Dead Or Alive that makes my feet can't stop moving in rhythm all through the song. I have to precise Chris Richards is back as co-writer on this one, along Peter & Matt, with Matt Pop's better than ever production skills, so when the song comes to its end at 3'33, I already miss it and there is no remix for it included on the bonus CD. It would deserve some though !
Last song on track #10 is called Better run away and is a Peter Wilson/Chris Richards T1 alone composition, even though the production is another retro PWL Matt Pop work, even more with Dead Or Alive inspired effects this time. At 6'46, this is another extended original version included that sounds like it could have been stolen from the Vineyard basement DAT chamber of secrets for sure... but there is a 4'49 Dave Ford's T1 remix on the bonus CD that shortens its length more into radio friendly format, even though it updates its sound too so that the retro PWL treatment is replaced by a trancey dance storm. I miss a Matt Pop radio version ! Could there be one, one day ?
My CD includes then the Ford/Curnow remix of Intoxicated and Matt Pop's retro remix of Stereo before the bonus remix CD shares more beats but the iTunes version follows with Mechanical as track #11. Written and produced by Peter with Chris Richards, this is the Peter Wilson's demo version they did for Amanda Lear without her releasing it. It is very different from the sound of the rest of the album ; it is more laid-back, haunting with layers of synthés a la Giorgio Moroder. I must admit I can't hear what Amanda's voice would have sounded on this one. Pete's surely fits the job more here :) but it is a nice bonus, definitely not worth full inclusion in the tight Stereo tracklisting, but a good way to wait for the remixes to come like an encore.
Remixes are all courtesy of Matt Pop, T1 or Dave Ford with/without Ian Curnow except the Glamma remix of Stereo I already talked about and a SleazeSisters anthem mix of Intoxicated that would fill every club floor with boys and girls dancing in ectasy with their hands in the air in just a second, for sure ! Peter Wilson and PWL addicts should order the double CD from the Energize Records site, just for the bonus remixes that are not available via iTunes, but beware though, these are manufactured CDRW with full colour printing & inlay and high quality sound, but they don't look like your usual CD from records companies.
Another let-down maybe that can be explained by the lower profil artist's budget is the video for Stereo, that unexpectedly has filmed Peter in front of tagged workhouse walls for a full urban/R&B image that doesn't fit the song at all. On the opposite, the short extracts showing him in a basement with sunglasses under redlight or classy in a rotating armchair would have fitted the video of this clubby song a lot more... But it's always easy to judge when it is already fine enough to have a full video for this single, and Peter said he likes it and took fun acting for it that's all folks !

Now if you want to know more about him, follow him on Facebook, and don't forget to buy his album whichever way you want from the links I started this post with :

vendredi 29 juillet 2011

Kim Wilde's soon back with a cover album

80's UK blonde diva Kim Wilde is releasing a new album on 26th of August in Germany, soon after her last one Come out and play from 2010 and after she came back to the music scene in 2006 with Never say never, and this time, it is not her own songs that she's re-recording, but a mixed bag of hits from the 70's to the 90's and even a Cathy Dennis penned song from 2007. The new album is called Snapshots and the first single off it is her take on East 17's 1993 Harding/Curnow produced hit It's alright, which reached #3 in the UK charts at the time. You can find below the video for it and the album's tracklisting :

01/ It’s Alright (East 17)
02/ In Between days (The Cure)
03/ About You Now (The Sugababes)
04/ Sleeping Satellite (Tasmin Archer)
05/ To France (Mike Oldfield)
06/ A Little Respect (Erasure)
07/ Remember Me (Diana Ross)
08/ Anyone Who Had A Heart (Cilla Black)
09/ Wonderful Life (Black)
10/ They Don’t Know (Kirsty Mc Coll)
11/ Beautiful Ones (Suede)
12/ Just What I Needed (The Cars)
13/ Ever Fallen In Love (The Buzzcocks)
14/ Kooks (David Bowie)

I have to admit I don't really know the last part of the songs' list but I'm particularly anticipating her cover versions of Sleeping Satellite, Wonderful life, A little respect and even About you now. She's gotta surprise me with Remember me, Anyone who had a heart and To France and I guess I'll just have to discover the other ones as new songs as, by their title, I don't think I know them...
I can only wish her big success with this cash-in album, so that we can see her get back into a successful era like when she was an opening act for Michael Jackson in the 80's, with her hits You came, Kids in America or You keep me hangin' on.

dimanche 24 juillet 2011

The Saturdays' new single "All Fired Up" sounds like a future UK#1

Looking back at what their mutual management have done with The Wanted's Glad you came, I understand that they work the same way for The Saturdays' new single, All fired up, to be released after the holidays, at the start of September, which means extensive promotion all summer long to guarantee a huge demand for the single to get as much legal downloads as possible as soon as it gets released, which is what has given Glad you came its number one entry in the UK charts two weeks ago.
All fired up, which has been produced by the Xenomania team responsible for nearly all the hits from Girls Aloud, is a full on clubby anthem that should get playlisted by every club & dance radio during the summer for sure and I can't see anything but another hit for the girls. It has an same infectious beat that makes you want to party all night long and a repetitive chorus and song structure that allows listeners to sing along and get addicted to it. I am for sure !

mardi 12 juillet 2011

Mike Tompkins' latest human beat box cover video

Last December, I first posted about this crazy talented boy named Mike Tompkins who, with multiples layers of human beatbox recorded vocal lines did fantastic cover versions of hit songs on videos. Now here his latest one, a take on Adele's Rolling in the deep, and there's even a link to his emusic page if you want to download it and help him make some money ;)

lundi 11 juillet 2011

Martin Solveig's SMASH may fall out short...

Tonight I am finally posting a review of Martin Solveig's fifth album SMASH. After his previous one C'est la vie and the strings of hits the french DJ released I was sure to like it from start to end. The results are more mixed up, I'm afraid.
First, the album only enlists 10 songs (and there's an instrumental and a track that lasts not more than 2'25...) and there has already been three singles released previously its release... But there are quite a number of fillers or dare I say songs I don't really think are that good... I mean, when an artist comes with such a tight tracklisting, I think every single track included can get a single release in my opinion. And truth is SMASH doesn't have that much more potential hits within ! I don't even understand how Martin can have taken so long to record such a poor collection of songs. Boys & Girls, its first single in duet with Dragonette, was released in October 2009 ! Shouldn't such a long recording session time produce much bigger hits ? I think he's taken more time thinking of and recording the BIG videos for the singles than thinking of the music variety of his album.
Maybe what deceived me too is that Martin has completely turned his back to his past house/africanized feel-good music to stick to his recent electro/cold pop/dance and I really miss his previous black vocalists who gave extra soul to his dance tracks.

The CD starts all good with his second single in a row that featured Dragonette on vocals, his worldwide smash hit Hello. I have nothiong to say bad about it : it has an addictive tune and sticky chorus with sultry vocals by canadian Martina Sorbara. This is the full version that is included not a 3' long radio edit but there is still no boring listening to this single that was released last autumn and whose video was recorded one year ago !
The brand new single follows and it is Kele (Okereke, previously of uk indie band Bloc Party) who gives extra soul to Ready 2 go. Once more, it is a full-on electro anthem, mixed with a bit of house and dubstep, the one who looks back the most into Martin Solveig's past sound. After Hello's tennis match based video, this one's has been shot in a football stadium. I wonder what's next ? Olympic pool with naked swimmers maybe ?
Martin Solveig doesn't need anyone else on track 3 as he has written, produced and sung the vocals alone for The night out and I really like it a lot. The rhythm is a little repetitive but the song is 80's inspired with bits of cold wave mixed to the electro sounds and the result is perfect. The little french DJ doesn't need any featuring to make it right after all and i really hope this one will be chosen as future single...
Dragonette comes back on next track, Can't stop, but this time there's no single potential to me as the song's got a raw in ya face verse & melody backed with rocky guitar riff and electro but the song seriously lacks a real chorus. Instead, the song is delayed a little with electro cut/paste bridge that sounds like Hello and the vocals are too auto-tuned with too much filter/effect robotizing her voice. I don't really like it or feel it catchy...
Then comes Racer 21 and I wonder why a CD track has been wasted with this minimalistic old-fashioned instrumental little looped melody that wouldn't have sounded out of place as soundtrack to a 80's Atari video games... There are no vocals at all and shall I say once more I don't like instrumentals ? I need some vocal line to memorize a song but I have no regret about this one, I don't need to get it sticking in my head for sure : I just need to skip it and get to the next track.
Sadly track 6, We came to smash (in a black tuxedo), that gives its title to the album and features new uk sensation electro/rap sensation Dev is a boring piece of shit that recyles Wooooh samples from another Solveig song inbetween unhearable come-and-go samplings of the chorus and boring verses. Dev's voice sounds close to Dragonette's and I fear her featuring here may be some kind of promo push for a further single.
Dragonette comes back on Big in Japan and it sounds sooooo like Hello, part 2 musically... ! Does an artist can be ripped off by himself ? There are the same electro sounds at bits but the rhythm is speeded up with acid loops and nice shouting backing vocals. This is a good album track that fits exactly in the footsteps of his previous singles but would be redundant if chosen as one !
Martin Solveig gets back on the mic for track 8, Get away from you, but it is his turn to have his voice robotized to the max, mixed with an irritating guitar that completely tear my ears until this ska inspired rock song gets to its end (at 2'24, it is deliverance time!). May he be forgiven for having recorded this horror momentum... but I won't forgive his record company to have let him included it on the CD !
Thankfully comes the time for his boy/girl duet with Dragonette Boys & Girls, which was his first new unreleased single that announced the direction he was heading to for his forthcoming album. The cold wave inspired electro dance/pop was clearly the way he had chosen but this one was catchy and addictive without being irritating. I still can listen to it till its end without being fed up with it and that is the sign that a good song should give. The song was repetitive but in a catchy way !
Finale to SMASH is Let's not play games, a surprising laidback drum'n'bass based midtempo track featuring the vocals of Sunday Girl, who may be Jade Williams as she is credited with Martin as co-writer. This last song is the only not upbeat song included but a rather very pleasant way to finish the album, all mellow and delicate with subtle arrangements. I like it a lot but would be surprised if this could become a single ! Plus, the tracks ends as if it is cut unfinished when I was hoping it to last 3 minutes more...

So all in all, there are only two more songs, apart from the three previous singles, that I really like, and two other tracks that I skip. I really should have listened to this album before buying it but others may find themselves in his new electro jam style I bet. It is just not for me... With 5/10 I usually wouldn't have reviewed an album I doesn't like that much but the singles are so good I needed to talk about it and some albums don't even have three good singles included after all, isn't it ?

vendredi 8 juillet 2011

I'm glad The Wanted come back with brand new summer single !

Next week in Great Britain will see UK's latest boysband sensation The Wanted release their fifth single, Glad you came, after their previous one Gold forever charted at #3 in March. It has been written by the same winning team of producer Steve Mac and co-writers Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett, who gave them their number one debut single All time low, but even though it all starts like their usual power ballad with Max George's beautiful and recognizable voice going all melancholic, it soon evolves into an Ibiza inspired clubbby summer anthem.
I have to admit its dance rhythm got me on my nerves the first time I heard it ; I thought it sounded cheap and very irritating... I must say it is only addictive in fact ! I'm now totally hooked on this party song and I would have happily danced along the five boys in the spanish island where its video has been recorded. All festive and feel-good, the song and the video see the five boys share the vocals and for once, Max George's are put aside in the intro and end chorus only. It is Nathan who sings the first verse with Tom following on pre-chorus before all five guys joining forces for massive chorus lines. Then Siva takes the lead (for once) for second verse, but I have now noticed it is the first verse's lyrics all repeated once more, and Nathan makes the pre-chorus his before second chorus and sing-along stadium chants Woh oh wohoh... that gives even more power to the song and make me want to jump on my two feet with my hands in the air to party and celebrate all night and all summer long ! Jay doesn't have a solo part but I recognize him in the choruses more than the others and Max takes back the lead for a last chorus all calmed down and melancholic like the intro was. With the video's storyline, showing all boys at sunset or sunrise during the intro, partying, playing football on the beach and seducing girls all day long in Ibiza's villa while the party verses & choruses play and finally waking up in the pale morning with some girl at their side while the song fades, I agree the song's rhythm matches the video very well and gives it a brilliant touch.
The only let-down may be the lyrics : after all, there is only one chorus, going "The sun goes down, the stars come out and all that counts is here and now. My universe will never be the same, I'm glad you came...", only one verse, made of four lines, and a only one pre-chorus where, like for 80's french hit Confidence pour confidence, every line's first word is the last one from the previous line, giving them a repetition catchy effect. I would have loved to see different lyrics build up the second part fo the song instead of having the first ones simply repeated sung by another boy. But there's no doubt the catchiness of the song stays intact and it makes it easier to memorize the song to sing along to it, for sure !
There is apparently an Alex Gaudino club remix and I hope the single is going to enter the UK charts next sunday (17th of July) at a high placing, maybe at number one, because it could easily be the summer hit it is intended to be, and that would launch the boys' second album to follow in autumn and empowers their career a little bit more.

Shall I say I cannot get enough of Max's expressive vocal on the intro & end bits ? I like him in The Wanted but when the five lads will decide to call it a day, I really hope he will start a solo career because his voice is too good to be lost...

mercredi 6 juillet 2011

Clare Maguire's first album deserves Adele's success

Adele and her phenomenal 21 album is better beware because english sister Clare Maguire is about to become the next big thing ! Her first album Light After Dark deserves to sell millions copies as Adele's, and the lady knows how to sing too, and for once, she isn't an ex TV contestant a la Pop Idol / X-Factor. Signed to Polydor, she has co-written all her songs (but one) with her producer Fraser T.Smith, and released her wonderful first album after a first single, Ain't nobody, flopped at #78 in the UK Charts in October 2010. The new single, Last dance, inspired by -or dedicated to- Michael Jackson, did become more successful, finishing #23 in February, while her album sold well, but her latest and third one didn't enter the charts... Compared to Adele, to whom I would link her to, it's a damn shame ! And the UK music press has voted Clare Maguire as the next singer to watch out. Maybe it is already too late for this album but for sure she'll be big with her next and you'll be happy to have discovered her first, after reading these lines... LOL.

Light After Dark starts with an intro that lasts just less than a minute, Are you ready?, where the girl sweetly vocalizes and harmonizes, just to get us in the mood for the real treat, The shield and the sword, her latest single and first catchy tune. This is one of the most upbeat songs on the album and it has a strong pre-chorus and even catchier and anthemic chorus. Her record company has even tried to crossover into the dance/pop buying market by having the ultra-camp Almighty remix team to have it revamped into a full hands-in-the-air disco/dance anthem, and it has worked very well with me, I must admit. With this first song, I fully discovered Clare's strong and deep vocal, and it made me think of Alison Moyet with some touches of Annie Lennox too. But on other songs out here, I have found her singing reminding me of Heather Small's solo effort (after she left M People). The fact is the lady has a killer voice, that can go very high but that she usually uses at a lower range, sometimes very deep, all warm and soulful, always, but on poppy songs that have more rhythm than most of Adele's ones ; while I found Adele's albums a bit boring on the length, Clare's one ain't a bore at all ! It is moving and uplifting, and it doesn't even belong to my usual campy pop/dance musical territory.
Last dance, her previous successful single is equally upbeat and catchy, but its chorus may be more addictive as it is lyrically simple, repeating "I'll save my last dance for you, my friend". The rhythm is nearly a march, on the post-chorus, and the focus is all on her powerful voice. But on next track, Freedom, we discover she could sing on a higher level too, reminiscing more of a Kate Bush or Annie Lennox again than before. It is the only song that hasn't been written by the Clare Maguire/Fraser T.Smith duo, but by german CRADA production team. It is a nice breezy effort and once more we're faced to a melodramatic emotional charge while listening to her lyrics and beautiful voice.

A new potential single follows, called I surrender, and once again the arrangements are upbeat/pop, but with piano & violins giving a soulful touch that for the first time reminds me of Heather Small's first solo album. It'll be a full waste if this track didn't get a full single release ! Next song Bullet showcases Clare's vocal even deeper and Heather Small's chant is even closer here, but the song is more of a mid-tempo, with lightful arrangements on the intro & verse, until the chorus comes, very powerful and repetitive like Last dance was, going "You shot this bullet through my bones, You shot me down, down, down I go". This one, for sure, is an album track as it is less offensive and instant for a single release, but an album filler it ain't !
But the next song is a surefire single again, with the usual now catchy repeted line giving its title to the song, The happiest pretenders, and I understand with this new one the way Clare sings long notes without losing her breath ; as if it was her trademark, most of her choruses see her sing long note after long note on a short line that is repeted to mark her brain with its melody, and it works so well. And she does it so gracefully, with soul, and vibe, and power... Sweet lie alternates once again on the emotional side, with its fragile melody and more touching vocals, but the lines "out of sight out of mind" or "if I see you again" sound more addictive on the melody than the title line, which doesn't make this one a good song for radio, but a peaceful and magic moment, once more.
Break these chains sees Heather Small's deep voice come back, with narrative verses and full anthemic soulful big chorus that I feel a full crowd would sing along to in a concert. Single! Single! my ears are hearing again... Too much of a good thing is never enough on this CD... But when comes the bridge, all gospel with choir, I have a sudden shock : Clare Maguire is NOT black but she sings with so much soul and rhythm & blues that she must be one at heart.
You're electric has been a promotional single but it hasn't the same instant appeal the previous potential singles in my ears had. Naturally, its chorus is powerful and anthemic, but with a lot more lines in it than the repetitive ones ; may this be the reason, really, for its lesser appeal ? It is a strong album track nonetheless ! Her first single Ain't nobody follows and I can hear a difference in the inspiration, even though, like the previous songs, it is written by the usual singer/producer duo. It is more of an atmospherical track with an hypnotical rhythm than an upbeat song. It has nice backing vocals arrangements, sometimes tribal to me, and it makes me think of a voodoo song, something like an incantation song for a lover maybe ? For sure their songwriting partnership has improved to write the other songs and lead them into a more appealing format.
It is nearly the end of the CD and the title song comes, just before the end. Light after dark is Clare's usual powerful song with big chorus sung with long notes the lady keep seconds after seconds. But it is no habit taken or bore coming ; it is just her style, her phrasé, and I like it, I feel it very appealing, nearly hypnotic. Once again, there are beautiful backing vocals harmonies vocalizing and the whole musical background arrangement leads the song into an orgasmic ending that leaves us under shock, knocked out after the whole album. And to close it all, This is not the end goes all mystical, religious and I first thought it was a traditional chant that she had covered. But no, it is a self penned song that goes the inspirational route, all calm and moving, but a strange way to finish the album. I must say I don't like it, AT ALL ! It is too rhythmless maybe. But it would perfectly fit a Christmas night at the church...

I regret the CD doesn't include the bonus songs that had been freely released on the digital world. First there has been another Kate Bush inspired lightful and breezy song called Lucky. And I would have loved to hear it after the title track instead of the boring one. Else, it could have been the iTune pre-order bonus track, Burn, a catchy song that got an upbeat and brilliant chorus, like nearly all songs on Light after dark after all...

So what's next in store for Miss Maguire ? Another single or two from her album I hope, just to try to milk it and get higher in the charts. Isn't Fraser T. Smith the co-writer of Adele's latest hit Set fire to the rain or the man behind Craig David's hitsingles from the Trust me era after all ? Clare Maguire just needs the right track to click with the mainstream audience like Rolling in the deep has done for Adele. Last dance and The shield and the sword didn't do the job ; I think The happier pretenders can do. I guess we just have to wait and see ...and keep our fingers crossed, 'cos it'd be a shame and a waste to see her talent stay ignored by the masses. But first thing first : lend her a ear or two and prepare yourself to get hooked !