Four years on from the guitar-fuelled ambitious pop of the 'Left of The Middle' album,...
Jacqueline Hodges 2002
It's hard to ever top a debut single like "Torn". It was a moment of perfect pop that saw Natalie Imbruglia break the precedent set by other former Aussie soapstars branching out into music, by actually being good. Having steered clear of bubblegum pop and the obvious path her roots would suggest, Natalie has always stood out as a lady who doesn't want to be like the rest. Four years on from the guitar-fuelled ambitious pop of the Left of The Middle album, Imbruglia's return to the spotlight is an altogether more mature and confident collection of songs. "That Day", first single and the album's opener, is a strange choice to return with. Co-written with sometime Madonna-scribe Pat Leonard, it is breezy and Alanis Morrisette-like in tendencies, but lacking any great sing along chorus or catchy hook.
Unlike her last, this is not an album crammed to the brim with hit singles. There are moments of pleasant, carefree charm in "Satellite" and "Wrong Impression" (the best track on the album) but the majority shows Natalie's darker, serious side and is hardly going to set the charts ablaze. Obvious comparison for the sound are, on the face of it, respectable; "Sunlight" is decidedly Garbage-esque, the rocky power ballads "Do You Love?" and "Butterflies" take her almost to U2 territory of sullen, swooning vocals building into climatic choruses. However, despite a strong, distinctive voice and all the best intentions of carving a 'mature' and 'serious' image, the results are disappointing. There are no horror moments (although the slightly cringy anthemic ballad "Goodbye" cuts quite close to the bone) and it is obvious that a lot of thought and care has gone into White Lilies Island but it fails overall to light many fires.