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Paloma Faith - The Architect (Album Review)

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 Written by Ben Gallivan

When Amy Winehouse burst onto the scene almost 15 years ago, we were entranced. The gutsy attitude, that unmistakable voice and the catchiest Motown-style numbers this side of the mid-’70s helped catapult her to worldwide stardom. Then came the inevitable pretenders to the crown.

Duffy, Corinne Bailey Rae and Joss Stone all became stars in their own right, although none came close to the clamour that surrounded Winehouse. Three years after the release of Winehouse’s swansong, ‘Back to Black’, in 2006, a new talent emerged.

Paloma Faith looked to emulate that same style and pizazz coupled with her own retro style and eccentricities. After a near miss with joining Winehouse’s own band, she made her opening statement on her 2009 debut ‘Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?’.

‘The Architect’ is Faith’s fourth record. In the interim, 2012’s ‘Fall to Grace’ and 2014’s ‘A Perfect Contradiction’ both toyed with the top of the UK charts and produced a handful hit singles. Along the way, Faith has become more of a safe pair of hands than a worldwide superstar.

‘The Architect’ is a brave stab at changing that. With an army of collaborators and songwriters on board, Faith is – in part thanks to the birth of her first child in December of last year – looking to the future.

Not just musically, either. Faith has discussed the record's social focus and a small cameo from left-wing activist Owen Jones pops up midway through the record, showing plainly that politics are on the agenda. Is that interjection necessary? No, not really, but there’s plenty more to get stuck into elsewhere.

Evolution is a short introduction featuring Samuel L. Jackson, but the record wisely moves on to the title track and two singles (Crybaby and Guilty) before it kicks into gear with I’ll Be Gentle: a soaring, soulful duet with a very much in-form John Legend.

One of the album’s other highlights is Warrior, a song that might not work in anyone else’s hands (apart from, perhaps, its co-writer Sia) but one that becomes a powerful ballad thanks to Faith’s range and vocal gymnastics. It will no doubt be gracing empowering TV ads and film scores for years to come, while it also completes a strong trio of tunes at the halfway point, including the poppy Kings and Queens, which may have been a better shout as a lead single.

Despite its shift in focus, ‘The Architect’ flows just as well as its predecessors and there are plenty more good tunes here than mediocre ones. Almost a decade along the line, Faith remains a safe pair of hands.

Paloma Faith Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri March 02 2018 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Sat March 03 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Mon March 05 2018 - ABERDEEN AECC BHGE Arena
Tue March 06 2018 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Thu March 08 2018 - MANCHESTER Arena
Fri March 09 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Metro Radio Arena
Sun March 11 2018 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Mon March 12 2018 - BRIGHTON Centre
Wed March 14 2018 - LONDON O2
Sat March 17 2018 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Sun March 18 2018 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Tue March 20 2018 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Echo Arena
Wed March 21 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Genting Arena
Fri March 23 2018 - BELFAST SSE Arena Belfast
Sat March 24 2018 - DUBLIN 3Arena

Click here to compare & buy Paloma Faith Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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