Advertising is a wonderful thing, or at least it is if you're Katie Melua. Even those who happen to be unaware of her limited canon of work thus far will probably be able to form a fairly accurate impression of what her music is all about with just a glance at some of her elegant press shots, or one of her reservedly sedate videos.
For everything that Melua puts her face or, indeed, that silky-smooth voice to is perfumed with a sense of class and dignity, the upshot being that this is not pop music. It's for a far more sophisticated palate than that.
No matter how much spin is afforded the girl and her music, however, there's one thing that no amount of carefully controlled styling will ever win her - a sense of history. Like many other contemporary female singers trading on a nebulous combination of image and undeniable ability as a singer, Melua patrols the periphery between the worlds of jazz and soul, with a little blues thrown in for good measure.
While Melua has her own history, then, being born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, raised in Belfast and then England, she is, in essence, just a white kid singing the blues.
Which is not in any way meant to diminish her own talent, but it often seems that the hard-worn effect her songs strive for is beyond her. Not to mention the fact that most of her band are well into their forties, which makes you a little suspicious of the dusky, tie-dye-skirted pixie's position as their leader.
All of which, then, leads songs such as "The Spider's Web" ("a bit political," she tells us, almost apologetically) and "Belfast" to lose a little of their intended mature edge. Elsewhere, "My Aphrodisiac Is You" rewrites "I Get A Kick Out Of You" when neither the same sexiness or vigour.
The big cheer for her forgettable big hit "Closest Thing To Crazy" notwithstanding, however, only closing versions of "I Put a Spell On You" and Eva Cassidy's "The Anniversary Song" hint at her potential. And even then, they still trade unashamedly on the past.Reuse content