Naimee Coleman

Bring Down the Moon

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Four years after her debut, Silver Wrists, earned her comparisons with Sinéad O'Connor, Ireland's Naimee Coleman returns with a follow-up that eschews her previous Gallic folk-rock for something a little more polished -- and judging by lead single "My Star," maybe a little too polished. Co-written with Phil Thornalley and produced by Boo Hewerdine, longtime collaborators with Natalie Imbruglia, its acoustic pop sound predictably follows the much copied formula of "Torn" down to a T. Luckily, the rest of the album is much more adventurous. The title track, featuring a Beatlesque backwards guitar solo, effortlessly switches from soothing Enya-style chillout verses to Garbage-style crunching guitar rock; "Delicate" is an intimate piano-driven ballad that sounds destined to appear on an emotional U.S. teen drama season finale; and final track "Your Arms" embraces modern country & western to showcase Coleman's fragile but beautiful vocals. Scoring a Top Five hit with Aurora on a trance cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" may not have turned Coleman into a dance diva, but there are definite signs the collaboration provided inspiration. "Sparkle," a heart-wrenching tale about unrequited love, is set amidst a backdrop of sparse acoustics and shimmering electronica; the beautiful "Love Song," a cover of the Cure's '80s classic, is rendered almost unrecognizable thanks to its Massive Attack-style production and epic soaring strings; and the lyrically astute "Misunderstood" is set to an almost drum'n'bass rhythm. The album only suffers when it aims for the big radio-friendly hits. The huge chorus of "Standing Strong" can't disguise its bland production, while the sweet melodies of "Sugar Me" are almost drowned out by obtrusive Eastern-influenced strings. Bring Down the Moon is far less disposable than its singles suggest, and its experimental nature certainly has shades of Dido about it. But its inconsistency means it's unlikely Coleman will have the same success.

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