...she gives fine, unaffected performances throughout and enlivens even the less...
Peter Marsh 2002-11-20
Though the cover and title are more than a little reminiscent of Alanis Morissette or even Tori Amos, Nerina Pallot is a slightly different proposition. Yes, she's a singer songwriter, and yes, she's obviously listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell, but there's a pure pop sensibility to this record that lifts her out of the 'this year's Tanita Tikaram' category. Dear Frustrated Superstar draws on elements of trip hop, Crowded House type post-Beatles pop and classic singer songwriter introversion, all topped off with lashings of strings and very little evidence of synths, drum machines or samples. Doubtless comparisons will be made with Dido, but Pallot comes across more like an anglicised Shawn Colvin, with the potential to be much more than either comparison might suggest. Quite a few of the songs here immediately jump out as singles (unfortunately "Patience", her current single, isn't really one of them)."Watch out Billie", a warning to a young female would be pop star about the perils of fame, (not dedicated to the current Mrs Chris Evans, surely) is one of those songs that bores itself into your brain and stays there for ever; "If I Know You", "Rainbow" and "Alien" aren't far behind in terms of infectiousness though.
Pallot's voice is, like Colvin's, reminiscent of her heroine Joni Mitchell and even occasionally a less quirky Kate Bush; she gives fine, unaffected performances throughout and enlivens even the less inspired songs with her delivery. The only problem with the record is that it's too long, though the closer, "My Last Tango", and the subsequent hidden track are two of the album's highlights; a more expansive, acoustic feel predominates here in contrast to the crisply executed pop of the rest of the record. Definitely a name to watch out for.