Rising like an undeterred and sophisticated phoenix from the ashes of previous band Gossip, ‘Fake Sugar’ is the first glimpse of solo material from Beth Ditto since her self-titled EP in 2011. A total of 12 tracks long, whittled down from an impressive 80 contenders, power and strength seeps out from every song on this record both literally in terms of musicality, but also with the messages entwined in Ditto’s lyricism.
Opener ‘Fire’ showcases the Arkansas twang in the musician’s purring vocal, which acts as an anchor for the LP. During ‘Love In Real Life’ we see Beth at her most vulnerable on the album. It’s power balladry which so obviously pours from the heart of the singer, crooning: “Though it’s never on purpose sometimes I make you sad / The sun don’t always shine on you baby / That’s alright because that’s what happens when you love in real life.”
Melancholia doesn’t prevail, though, as eerie disco stomper ‘Do You Want Me To’ follows next and ‘Lover’ guns for the title of a modern day ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’.
At the heart of this record overriding percussive elements claw their way to the forefront and this matched with Ditto’s smooth but commanding voice is a winning formula.
Words: Shannon Cotton
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