Album: k d lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)

Sing It Loud is k d lang's first work with a band of her own since her original albums with The Reclines two decades ago. But compared to the sprightly tone of those breakthrough recordings, this is tough going.

Right from the opening "I Confess", there's a palpable mismatch between lang's voice, now matured from country chirp to torch-song croon, and the oddly clodhopping backings of the Siss Boom Bang, who trample over the sensitive subtleties of a decent song like "Perfect Word", then when required to be discreetly languid on "Sugar Buzz", let the song collapse in on itself completely. Elsewhere, "A Sleep with No Dreaming" is a leaden-footed tango with twang, while a cover of Talking Heads' "Heaven" is enervated to the point of exhaustion. An unmitigated disaster.