The ten songs on Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
, Paloma Faith's U.K. Top Ten debut, were touched by over a dozen producers. For Fall to Grace
, the follow-up, the singer worked almost exclusively with the duo of Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran
) and Nellee Hooper (Massive Attack
). Naturally, as a result, it's more of a piece than merely a collection of songs. That's not to say that Gosling and Hooper don't provide Faith with a wide variety of backdrops. There's synth pop that pulses, electro-disco that just about bursts, ballads that occasionally preen and frequently roar, and grand Phil Spector
pop that teems with florid desperation. The significant uptick in theatrical flair pushes Faith to put forth maximum-effort vocal showcases that place the sound of the voice far above the meaning of the song. This steamrolls the potential for subtlety and even humor; in "Blood, Sweat & Tears," "You tell me I'm a handful, but believe me, I know" is sung with the same level of chest-beating desperation as "We can conquer the world, leave our footprints on earth." For every bullseye, like the white-hot cover of the Northern soul favorite "Let Me Down Easy," there's a wild misfire, like the societal ballad "Black and Blue" -- the wrong material for a singer with a larger than life image and affected approach to singing. Commercially, she's faring well. Artistically, she's still coming into her own. [A Deluxe Edition featured a second disc with five bonus tracks.]