A debut album from the former Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto has been long overdue. Fake Sugar is a collection of styles which illustrates her Southern roots and seriously sexy swagger. The album opens almost where the Gossip left off and should satisfy any long-suffering fans who have been having withdrawal symptoms. ‘Fire’ is the opening track and starts the album with a bang. It carries her signature energy and this album is a great starting point for her future career.
The lead single ‘In And Out’ is a rip-roaring belter of a tune. With her vocals making a more subtle contribution she is accompanied by a funky, lazy backing track and the combination is a welcomed return. We imagine this could do very well as it has all the elements of a catchy pop tune.
With the idea that less is sometimes more she continues this theme throughout the album. The title track ‘Fake Sugar’ is no different with its delicious catchy guitar loops. Ditto is able to use the power of her vocals in a refined way which only endorses her power. The track slides effortlessly along full of sexy Southern grit and attitude.
This is continued in the excellent ‘We Could Run’ lamenting about the dangers of playing it safe or doing what we all should do sometimes. The album then starts to change style and direction somewhat. The strong vocals and powerful display of ‘Oo La La’ represent an unfortunate decline in the album. After such a strong opening it’s not surprising that there are a few fillers on here. The whole album is the perfect platform for her relaunch, it just sometimes feels that she didn’t quite have enough material to sustain the excellent first half of the album.
Tracks like ‘Oh My God’ and 'Love In Real Life' do not carry the same sexy, catchy presence of the first half. It’s only ‘Do You Want Me To’ that returns the same quality with a glorious bass driven track. As with all debuts, there is a lot of positives with this new record. The welcome return of Beth Ditto is the major positive but more than that is a new sound which has clearly been honed over the months spent working to this point. There is still plenty of invention and lots more to come from the Southern queen. We look forward to it.