On her four-song debut solo effort, Gossip singer Beth Ditto fully embraces the deep dance sound her band has flirted with over the years. A rock star with the melismatic vocal tendencies of an R&B diva, she wisely reins in the histrionics in favour of intimate-sounding melodies. The restrained approach perfectly fits with Simian Mobile Disco's dark, minimal groove contributions, which recall 80s synth pop but with fatter, modern bass lines.
Lyrically Ditto is in top form, striking a sage tone to dish out relationship advice (I Wrote The Book), console a friend (Do You Need Someone) and reprimand an ex-lover (Open Heart Surgery). It's a beautiful, sophisticated effort that gets richer with each listen. It's also a welcome reprieve from most of today's club-oriented pop music, which too often has all the subtly of a chainsaw to the brain.
Top track: I Wrote The Book