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Paloma Faith - Infinite Things (Album Review)

Friday, 13 November 2020 Written by Simon Ramsay

If 2017’s ‘The Architect’ found Paloma Faith increasingly stepping away from her retro stylistic leanings in favour of a more modern aesthetic, ‘Infinite Things’ is a leap into contemporary pop territory. Packed with glossy, radio-ready hits in the making, and driven by a mature and heartfelt lyrical approach, her fifth effort is almost like a more adult version of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’. But, unlike Nashville’s former sweetheart, Faith can’t quite put her own distinctive stamp on such well crafted material.

When the first lockdown struck Faith pressed reset on much of her existing writing, learning how to record at home and penning a new batch of poignant tunes that meditate on everything from the complexities of a long term relationship to sickness, loss and how her creativity had become increasingly suffocated by industry demands.

Whether it’s the beautifully rendered title track about the euphoria and redemptive power of motherhood, Monster’s dancefloor-crushing attack on the music business or Better Than This, a sparse but soaring dissection of a struggling love affair, Faith is inspired, honest and clearly unencumbered by external pressures throughout.

Great pop music demands a glut of gold plated hooks and ‘Infinite Things’ more than delivers on that front. Whether it’s the gleeful pick me up of Supernatural, which could be ‘80s Madonna and late ‘90s Kylie crash landing together in 2020 to raise spirits, Me Time’s roaring declaration of needing space to find oneself or Sigrid co-write Gold, this album is a treasure trove of consistently superb choruses, colourful textures and groovy rhythms.  

Elsewhere, the emotionally blunt, goosebump-inducing ballad If Loving You Was Easy and the Prince-esque Beautiful & Damned, which decorates a ‘1989’-styled cut with a snatch of the lovely melody from Sheena Easton’s For Your Eyes Only, are suitably stripped back, fittingly ambient affairs that add variety to proceedings and pack an equally enchanting melodious edge. 

But for all these positives, it often feels like Faith is approaching her music as if it were an acting gig. From her vocal delivery, which is almost unrecognisable in the higher registers and occasionally pinballs uneasily between that and her brassier sound within the same track, to the obvious touchstones being drawn from, many moments are too reminiscent of other songs and vocalists. Although Faith approximates her influences very well, it’s as if she disappears so completely and convincingly into a role that none of the songs cry ‘that’s Paloma Faith.’ 

It’s a strange paradox that someone with her unique image and idiosyncratic character can’t gift her music the same kind of distinguishable identity. As a result, that lack of a definitive artistic flourish prevents these tracks, even when emotionally powerful and full of impassioned belief, from connecting with the same intimacy and meaning as they might in the hands of a strong musical auteur or personality such as Adele or Swift.

That said, there’s no doubting the quality and consistency of this record, nor the conviction with which it’s performed. Faith’s music may never bear the same A-List, individualistic mark as her peers, but ‘Infinite Things’ is an otherwise finely sculpted album that effortlessly fuses a youthful sound with enough relatable, grown up sentiments to elevate it above a sonically overcooked, substantially under nourished, pop-by-numbers effort.

Paloma Faith Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu September 16 2021 - OXFORD New Theatre Oxford
Sat September 18 2021 - GLASGOW SEC Armadillo
Sun September 19 2021 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Tue September 21 2021 - MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall
Wed September 22 2021 - MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall
Fri September 24 2021 - BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall
Sat September 25 2021 - BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall
Mon September 27 2021 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 City Hall, Newcastle
Tue September 28 2021 - SHEFFIELD Sheffield City Hall Oval Hall
Thu September 30 2021 - NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall Notts
Fri October 01 2021 - SOUTHEND Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Sun October 03 2021 - HARROGATE Harrogate Convention Centre
Mon October 04 2021 - IPSWICH Ipswich Regent Theatre
Wed October 06 2021 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Thu October 07 2021 - HULL Bonus Arena, Hull
Sat October 09 2021 - STOCKTON Stockton Globe
Sun October 10 2021 - STOKE Regent Theatre
Tue October 12 2021 - BATH Bath Forum
Wed October 13 2021 - TORQUAY Princess Theatre - Torquay
Fri October 15 2021 - PLYMOUTH Plymouth Pavilions
Sat October 16 2021 - BRIGHTON Centre
Mon October 18 2021 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Wed October 20 2021 - LEICESTER De Montfort Hall
Fri October 22 2021 - LONDON London Palladium
Sat October 23 2021 - LONDON London Palladium
Mon October 25 2021 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Empire Theatre
Tue October 26 2021 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Empire Theatre

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

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