So, Paloma Faith? It's a very interesting outlook as I don't really know about her, all I know is that she has a distinctive choral talent and gets a fair share of radio airplay. Faith has already racked up a string of successful hits including Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful, New York and Upside Down. Now it's not the sort of music I ever listen to, but thanks to one of the Editor's rather outlandish ideas, I have been chosen to review this album in a genre that I supposedly loathe passionately, so here we go with the review which I'll try to base on with the utmost impartiality and lack of bias. God help me.
London born and raised Paloma Faith has been brought up essentially on jazz, and this influence is strongly evident in her songwriting. It's easy to draw comparisons with her and Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy, but while they sing of personal woes and what-could-have-beens, Faith tells a subtle tale of fragile relationships and warnings of divulging too many times in the past. The album title is itself a play on the fall from grace phrase and its cover depicts her apparently falling into Paradise, an indication that there's possibly better times to come. Having read the album details and musical contributions, I find it rather worrying that over 100 musicians, writers and vocalists were employed in putting together Fall To Grace, which predictably meant that it took a lot longer to release than originally thought.
Another worrying thought springing in my mind is that has Fall To Grace as a result become an overproduced commodity? Well, having listened to it a couple of times, I think the answer is a marginal no. FTG demonstrates her assured and powerful vocals on top of a good song composition base and simpleton lyrics that threaten to light up a dark night sky. But PF doesn't have the Midas touch. First of all, 30 Minute Love Affair as well as Black And Blue aren't really bad at all, but for me, they're slightly too sugary and I feel they won't really age with time. Her best work on this piece are the no frills piano accompanied Just Be, and the evocative Let Your Love Walk In and the gospel backed Freedom. Streets Of Glory rounds off FTG with some grand illusions and some fanfare.
In summary, from an outsider's point of view, Fall To Grace is a reasonably classy album showcasing Paloma Faith's good distinctive but sometimes insecure vocals. It also establishes her as a solid composer, so she's not short on ideas. The flaws I think lie with some of her first mentioned tracks, where also I think there's just a little too much input musically. As a concept album, it scores reasonably well, but as a classic I'm not so certain. For a sure a working progress. M. Richardson 06/07/2013.
6 out of ten. Now I see where you were going, but not quite there.
You can buy the album here on Amazon
You can listen to the album here on Spotify
Paloma Faith's activities can be followed here on her official website