The intemperate acclaim with which Corinne Bailey Rae's modest talent has been greeted is an indication of how Blunted palates have become after a few years of Norah and Katie and James. The prospect of Jack Johnson as the industry's chosen "breaking act" is depressing enough, but when Rae's etiolated, beige-soul stylings get compared to Billie Holiday - or even Macy Gray - things have reached a dismal turn. She's actually more reminiscent of the Seventies pop-soulster Linda Lewis - pleasant enough, but hardly capable of affording access to the deeper emotional landscape. This insipid lite-soul has the hollow ring of music devised as style accessory rather than genuine emotional excavation - but then, it's hard to imbue clichés like "patience is a virtue" and "the more you stay the same, the more things change" with any persuasive sense of catastrophic disruption. That's certainly the case with Rae herself, who appears to regard the supposedly heart-swelling, head-spinning prospect of romance with all the deflated disinterest of a nodding junkie in songs like "Trouble Sleeping" and the revolting "Choux Pastry Heart", a song every bit as cloying as its core metaphor.
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