Album: Meshell Ndegeocello, Devil's Halo (Downtown)

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The Independent Culture

Meshell Ndegeocello remains an enigmatic talent – a skilled bassist whose abilities have served artists as diverse as Alanis Morissette and The Rolling Stones.

Here, themes of alcohol ("Tie One On", "Lola", "Hair Of The Dog" and "Crying In Your Beer") and violence ("Slaughter", "Blood On The Curb" and "Die Young") are intertwined, but with no alteration in style or delivery signalling which theme is operative at any time. Most of the tracks open with ghostly electronic wisps and murmured intimacies, with limpid jazz guitar chords sketching out the emotional territory, interrupted by bouts of tricksy riffing. The songs seem to bleed into one another, with too much pointlessly flashy playing leading to polite jazz-rock hell. One's left yearning for a hummable melody that might imprint one of these songs upon one's memory.

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