Cass Fox - Come Here
Everything about this release, from the title and inlay artwork to the music itself, screams BLAND! It's a shame that the majority of the songs blend into one big mediocre haze, especially considering Faithless' Rollo Armstrong produced/co-produced all but one of the twelve tracks on offer. Sister Bliss also chips in on a handful, so it is quite simply confusing as to how the energy of their dance outfit does not translate. Then again, both Armstrong and Bliss had a helping hand in some of Dido's work, proving that their contribution to the world of dinner party background music was not a one-off.
Current single Army of One is unfortunately the kind of thing you can expect more of. It's so earnest and desperate to sound soulful but is also so over-produced that it fails in its objective, sounding more like a poor imitation of the early Sugababes track Run For Cover. A catchy male vocal sample can't save opening track Out Of My Reach, Save Me is limp mid-tempo pop, and the likes of Strangers and Little Bird don't fare much better, uninspiring lyrics not helping matters. Even the song that brought her to the public's attention, the Rui Da Silva number one club smash Touch Me, is here reduced to an ultimately po-faced and funked-down version.
Despite the overall sense of tedium, there are a couple of tracks that are worth a spin. The best of the bunch is God Likes Goods Lovers, an exquisitely-produced little number which blends piano soul-blues ballad with bursts of synthetic strings and brass. Million Dollars, which employs similar bouts of strings alongside a looped funky guitar, is a slow-burner whilst the title track and Into the Blue, regardless of their trite sentiments, are decent enough slowies that showcase Fox's vocal talents.
The undeniable beauty of her voice makes the album's general (here's that word again) blandness somewhat of a travesty. With the right songs, this girl could be huge. Her bluesy husk is reminiscent of Kosheen's Sian Evans but sadly there is no Catch or Hungry here. The overall effect is one of Fox not quite knowing what style of music she should be committing herself to. It's not dancey enough to get the clubbers raving and it's not stripped down enough for fans of laid-back organic songwriting. It falls somewhere in between and, while three or four tracks work, the rest verge on being good but falter due to some intrinsic flaw at their core. Better luck next time, Cassie...