Dan Black - Un

I blame Ladyhawke, that sexy little minx in the Nirvana tee. She gone and did it, d'ain't she? A couple of decent performing singles that managed to get a lo-o-ot of airplay encouraged the bigwigs to happily throw a couple more synth-happy babes - La Roux, Little Boots - our way, knowing their pockets would remain safe in doing so. Well, now the boys are getting in on the act too, and the long-suffering Dan Black is leading the pack with debut solo album Un.

After failing to make much of a lasting impression on anyone (besides his mom maybe) with his band The Servant in 2007, Black now drops his first attempt at a solo record from the other, other side of the pond - he's based in France, despite being a Brit. And, as it stands, it ain't too shabby; lead-off single Symphonies could have been muted when Notorious B.I.G.'s estate (again, we're back to mothers) refused Black permission to riff on Biggy's Hypnotise but he saves it by sampling strings from John Carpenter's Starman score over a looped drum beat from Rihanna's Umbrella - could explain the shit weather, no? Elsewhere, there's plenty in the way of loose electro-funk pop, including the singles Alone and Yours, and chic slow jams, such as the snug-as-a-bug comfy blanket Life Slash Dreams.

As with most of the current wave of '80s revivalists, some of the material is inevitably derivative and Black's vocals can veer on the whiny. While he shares the same Prince influence as personal fave Pop Levi, he sometimes drops the ball - there are perhaps one too many mid-tempo tracks in need of a kick up the arse but I Love Life's attempt at M.I.A.-esque droll rhyming is even worse. Still, this is as catchy as swine flu in places and, should the record not find an audience, Black will undoubtedly go on to write material for future pop stars. Now we have to wait and see if Tommy Sparks and Frankmusik come up with the goods with their own albums numero uno.



out of 10

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