Paloma Faith - Fall To Grace
Paloma Faith strips back the theatrics for album number two. Following on from 2009's drama-laden Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, Paloma has ditched all illusions in favour of a more vulnerable, intimate sound.
Despite a simpler, more personal feel to the album, Paloma grasps your attention through the luxurious, dreamy slant to her voice. Combined with her edgy lyrical prowess, Fall To Grace is a contemporary take on the sound of obvious influences such as Etta James and Billie Holiday; 'Black & Blue', for instance, is a modern day social commentary inspired by the London Riots last summer and makes for one of the most heartfelt and best tracks on the album. Lyrically Paloma ignores your standard run of the mill love cliches, making some interesting points to really make the listener think and question everything from politics to substance abuse.
Most will be familiar with lead single 'Picking Up The Pieces' with its obligatory pop edge making it catchy without compromising the fact that it is unmistakably Paloma. But don't judge Fall to Grace on its synth-led power pop cash cow; it is a misleading anomaly designed to push sales of an album which rarely exceeds a power ballad pace. Not that this is a fault: 'Just Be' is a brilliant example of how a piano ballad should be written to keep it interesting. 'Freedom' is at the opposite end of the spectrum, proving Paloma can replicate the classics without losing touch with what makes a chart hit.
Standout track 'Let Me Down Easy' picks up the pace with an interesting percussive beat to it. Showcasing her edgier side, the power of Paloma's vocals becomes obvious, clashing with the subtle backing sound. On the other hand, 'Streets Of Glory' slowly builds momentum before reaching a climax bursting with grandeur, showing that Paloma hasn't entirely lost her love for the dramatic. Fall To Grace has a constant, steady pulse throughout and really needs several listens to grasp and appreciate the moments where it excels above the multitude of popular female vocalists.
Paloma Faith hasn't made her career defining album yet, but watch this space, she's laying her foundations to become one of the most unique voices this side of the millennium.