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Album: Paloma Faith, Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? (Epic)

The ancients may have believed that art was all about truth and beauty; these days, as Paloma Faith recognises from her previous stints as burlesque performer, it's more about interesting lies.

In the case of this impressive debut album, that might refer to her fabricated Amy Winehouse persona, which is a touch too smoothly effected to ring entirely true. It's there right from the off with the Amy/Duffy retro-soul stylings of "Stone Cold Sober"; while her claim in "Broken Doll" that she's "damaged goods" seems that bit too eager to echo Amy's admission "I told you I was trouble". But Paloma deals in similarly grand, melodramatic emotions in songs such as "Smoke And Mirrors", "New York" and the title-track, wheeling out Spectorian tubular bells and keening string glissandi to evoke the depths of her emotional catastrophe. The vaudevillean tone of "Upside Down" pushes the formula to the brink of corny; but "Romance Is Dead" brings things back from the brink, with its images of "plastic flowers" and "greasy-fingered prints". She may not have the authentic edgy spirit of Amy, but her simulation is delivered with both barrels blazing.

Download this: Stone Cold Sober, Smoke And Mirrors, Romance Is Dead, Do You Want the Truth Or Something Beautiful?