Friday, 3 June 2011

Nicola Roberts - Dance To The Beat of My Drum

When songs dick around for 12 akward seconds before any melody appears, I usually take a rain check and get back to excavating the 90s for lost dance sounds, but with crimson-crusader Nicola Roberts the immense, almost mythical, expectations of what she could be capable of delivering are simply too high and throbbing to ignore. Thankfully, Dance To The Beat of My Drum is fickle and adamant that you listen to what she has to say. Granted, it's not a lot, but the shades of M.I.A, Robyn and Paloma Faith (it even makes me fondly remember Lisa 'Left-Eye' Lopez's Bloc Party) gives Roberts a chance to show off her range of influences in ways that getting aloof talky bits in Girls Aloud songs rarely allowed ger the chance to express. Without a doubt, Nadine was the best vocalist of the lot, like a leading lady in a film, where the rest of them were the supporting 'character' actresses (or singers in our case), and it was Nic who time after time made these moments cound and often stole the show (pun intended, although The Show was one of the rare examples of Cherl Cole being useful). Nicola's moment of glistening clarity on the remarkable dance-ballad Untouchable (think Kelly Llorenna meets David Gray's Please Forgive Me) was crestfallen, morbidly dignified and enriched with grimacing pathos. Although this particular single (their only one to miss the UK top 10) was all about Nadine's beautiful robots, Robert's gorgeous and dreamy opening verse is saturated in melancholic wisdom beyond her years. Dance To The Beat of My Drum is a clunky parade of likeable noises and a nagging chorus (what more can you ask for really?). This song needs to be a hit: being awesome, having no charges of racial assault, with no accusations of being an 'Irish bitch' has to count for something, right?

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