Album: Nerina Pallot

Dear Frustrated Superstar, Polydor
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The Independent Culture

The latest in a lengthening line of female singer-songwriters, the Jersey girl Nerina Pallot has been compared to the likes of Tori Amos and Alanis, although vocally she resembles more the powdered poise of Mary Hopkin, with a persistent piping quality whose appeal soon wears thin. Musically, there's an oddly characterless cast to this debut, whose slick Bob Clearmountain mixes are aimed firmly at American radio. While she makes a few stabs at the usual targets – ungrateful former lovers ("If I Know You"), human fallibility ("God"), her own attraction to bad guys ("Jump") – the bulk of the album seems to be about Nerina's own ambition, which is clearly formidable, if not always entertaining. Track after track finds her fretting about her lack of success and how unfulfilled she feels: "I watch my friends get bigger and get better," she sings in the single "Patience", "but I'm not bitter: I want it all." Even a song such as "Rainbow", an airhead invocation to "shine your colour like the rainbow" (whatever that entails), starts with a moan about how "everything I do just takes so long." The title track encapsulates her sheer terror of remaining unknown, while "Watch out Billie" offers patronising advice to fellow wannabes less gifted than herself – a situation much more ironic than anything Alanis Morissette would recognise as such.

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