Marti Pellow

Love to Love

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Wet Wet Wet frontman Marti Pellow has quietly but impressively managed to record just as many studio albums in his ten-year solo career as he has with his hugely successful Scottish four-piece, while simultaneously appearing as the lead in several West End musicals. Released in the same month he starred in a touring production of Broadway show Jekyll and Hyde, Love to Love is his seventh LP, and his second to focus entirely on other artists' work following 2003's Between the Covers. While his previous collection of interpretations concentrated mainly on the classic rock of the Beatles, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell, Love to Love is more interested in the smooth soul and R&B love songs of the '70s and '80s. Personally chosen by Pellow, each of its 12 tracks apparently represent a significant time in the eventful rollercoaster of his life, which suggests that it's more than just a hastily assembled collection of songs designed to cash in on the Valentine's Day market. But as tasteful as the string-soaked simple acoustic arrangements are, it's hard to shake the feeling that Love to Love is nothing more than a glorified karaoke album. Arguably in possession of one of the U.K.'s finest blue-eyed soul voices, Pellow does his best to inject some originality into the proceedings while also competently taking on the likes of Luther Vandross' "So Amazing," Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture," and Earth, Wind & Fire's "After the Love Has Gone," but he's unable to offer anything new to the source material. Only a solo take on Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt's hit duet "Don't Know Much" and a rendition of Patti Austin and James Ingram's "Baby Come to Me" with L.A. soul singer Big Baby, provide any intrigue, while the unimaginative inclusions of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and Joe Cocker's "You Are so Beautiful" have become as ubiquitous as the Wets' "Love Is All Around" was in the summer of 1994. Love to Love won't disappoint Pellow's loyal army of fans, but there's nothing here to differentiate it from the countless other love song compilations that it will be competing for shelf space with.

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