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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

VV Brown – Samson and Delilah

It must be tough to be a soul singer from the cobbling capital of Great Britain, Northampton. And that’s in no way a derogatory view of the medium sized midlands town, as I’ve been to the Sixfields Stadium on several occasions and found the locals both friendly and enthusiastic. It’s just difficult to imagine Minnie Ripperton, Marie Wells or Aretha Franklin hailing from anywhere quite so unglamorous. Because of this, Vanessa  must have had to work even harder to become a moderately well known singer, record producer and model, and as such she’s not averse to taking the odd risk or two.

Samson and Delilah is certainly a risk. An album that harks back to eighties electronica and inspired by the likes of Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet and Erasure sounds great on paper but is so easy to get wrong. So was it a risk worth taking? Well at least partially it works.

If anything Vanessa leans to the Annie Lennox flavour of the eighties vibe when she would have been better advised to go for the more Yazoo flavoured vintage. Having said that a couple of the songs are absolute belters and worth the price of the LP on their own, and the rest are acceptable at worst. It sounds like feint praise, but the overall atmosphere and production of the album deserves better than that.

The two standout tracks are the pulsing, sophisticated Moyet-esque groove of ‘The Apple’, which incidentally sounded even better performed live on Jules Holland, and the rhythmic insistency of the Grace Jones inspired ‘Igneous’ and there’s even a cute little rap towards the end that I really enjoyed. The best of the rest is possibly the stark electro of ‘I can give you more’ but there’s not much between any of the also-rans.

It’s fun, different and classy. Possibly the best thing to come out of Northampton since Adebayo Akinfenwa, (although slightly more lightweight.) 

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