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Album: Gossip, A Joyful Noise (Columbia)


It's a crying shame, the way Beth Ditto blew it. In 2006-7 the Gossip leader had the potential to be a massive figure on the cultural landscape (with every pun intended).

A proudly plus-sized, queer-positive, working-class, feminist heroine blessed with a scorching soul voice, and backed with a white-hot disco-punk band.

Half a decade on, she already feels like a footnote. And she and the Gossip have nobody to blame but themselves. A Joyful Noise pairs them up with Xenomania's Brian Higgins. This should be a stroke of genius, but Higgins has caught Ditto & co at a point where they appear to have disastrously lost their fire. Only "Love in a Foreign Place" shows the sort of strutting disco beast they are capable of. It's too little. But not, one still hopes, too late.