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Tanita Tikaram (right) sees herself in the tradition of singer- songwriter, like Nanci Griffith, Joan Armatrading and Mary Margaret O'Hara. Which is probably why the Average Joe rock fan (into Oasis, admires PJ Harvey), doesn't really see her as part of the normal scheme of things, sadly. Five albums down the line, and it's still little miss "Good Tradition" who lingers in most minds. After all, who remembers Tanita plugging singles from the three albums that followed four million-selling debut Ancient Heart on TOTP? There you go.

But perhaps that's been good news for her 1995 return with Lovers in the City (Eastwest). Still no hits, but the long-player's cool sophistication and Tanita's fresh-faced maturity makes her ripe for reassessment by people who thought she'd been swept away with 1988. Lovers in the City is quality stuff. The mood is subtle, New Age introspective and calm throughout. Maybe that is down to co-producer Thomas Newman, film score man for Scent of a Woman and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The catch is, the music is too smooth to rock the senses: all too often Tanita and band's poise and silk touch tranquillity shove the music into MOR territory. So nope, PJ Harvey fans won't buy it. Being a broody twentysomething story teller suits Tanita, but a few sonic experiments away from those folk rockers wouldn't do any harm. Let's see: a 1960s pop song cover perhaps, or a team up with Tricky of Massive Attack.

Tanita Tikaram, The Palladium, W1, 21 May (0171-494 5020)

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