Katie Melua - The House
Katie Melua's fourth studio album The House may not be the groundbreaking, direction-changing collection that it was originally touted as but it certainly sees the singer broadening her horizons and willing to experiment with her sound - while still delivering songs that tread old territories so as not to alienate her Radio 2 listening faithful fans.
The most obvious example of Kate's experimentation is current single "The Flood". The William Orbit produced track sees Katie dabbling with dance beats as the song progresses from its downbeat beginnings to a galloping middle section that's the most exciting thing that she's ever recorded. It's a fairly fleeting part of the song but it shows what a Katie album could be like if things were taken even further. Other content that shines for me includes "A Happy Place", one of the many songs on the album co-written with Robbie William's old partner in crime Guy Chambers. The track starts with a slightly spooky intro, moving onto staccato verses with a big chorus. "Twisted" also gets my vote. It's a song towards the end of the collection that wouldn't be out of place on an album from the likes of Ellie Goulding or Little Boots.
There's a few tracks on The House that take the obvious slow ballad path that merit further attention, including album opener "I'd Love To Kill You" with its sinister lyrics that see Katie wanting to kill her lover while they eat and "Red Balloons", a delicate track penned with Polly Scattergood - but some of the music on display is just a bit too dreary for my liking, with "No Fear of Heights" and album closer "The House" a bit on the dull side. That being said, I'd call the album a successful experiment and one that will hopefully gain enough sales to have Miss Melua challenge herself even more with album number five. It is a little bit frustrating though that she didn't take full advantage of her time in the studio with Orbit, producing the album of her career in the process.