Sound — 10
Sneered at my many a player, Melua and her wonderful rack of amplifiers have been selling out venues for a number of years and until I bought this CD I had no idea what the hype was about. I've always admired her massive hits but the seldom heard album stuff is quite enchanting. Her beautiful nylon (insert your own innuendo here) strung acoustic works really well with the arrangement of the band. The CD is a mixture of different styles of music from Reggae to Spanish Flamenco solos and Blues shuffles to Jazz swing grooves. There's at least one everyone will warm to.
Lyrics — 9
As with most Melua tracks, the vocal is weak at first. But you soon realise that Melua has chosen her dynamics and vocal phrasing well as it is always just what the track requires. Her haunting voice is pitch perfect and extremely well recorded as is everything else. I do prefer the tracks Melua did not contribute writing to as these are a little abstract but wonderfully performed all the same. The lyrics are quite clich but this adds to the Jazz feel as songs like 'If You Were A Sailboat' take unexpected twists and turns with (although clichd) sophisticated and intricate words. Exceptions to the clich rule do come however in the form of tracks like 'Mary Pickford'.
Overall Impression — 8
The session musicians on the album should be applauded because I think the overall sound would not be as good without them. Great solos on things like 'Mary Pickford' are down to some of the greatest musos around. Highlights for me are 'Mary Pickford', 'Dirty Dice', 'Sailboat', 'Ghost Town' and 'Scary Films'. I think the whole album is about film and theatre but I may be mistaken. I believe tracks like 'What It Says On The Tin' and 'It's All In My Head' are among the milkier songs on the album with Melua's cover of Leonard Cohen's 'In My Secret Life' falling midway between this milky state that I just made up and a black coffee. For acoustic players, definitely. All musos should give it a go. Put your views aside and give it proper listen. It's not for everybody but don't pass judgement 'til you've heard it.