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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 73 - 09/21/02

Ruth Hammond
All The Good Things
Tenterhook Records

Ruth Hammond plays saxophone on the latest Morcheeba CD. Here, on her first album release, she also sings and plays the Fender Rhodes keyboard and the Hammond organ. The Fender Rhodes is a very mood-setting instrument - sounding soft, delicious and slick. The same words can be used about this whole album, this is soft lounge-pop with a jazzy feeling throughout. Hammond has a semi-hoarse voice, subdued and lazy, fitting the music perfectly. This is a song-writer's album, and among Hammond's stated inspirators are Sting, Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan. High targets, you may say.

But it starts out fine, with "School's Out". Far from Alice Cooper, this is laid-back pop music, driven by the pulsating Fender Rhodes, with just enough rhythmic twists to keep the listener from drifting off into chill-out land. The keyword is Cool. The rest of the album however, is somewhat pale in comparison. Hammond will have to advance a few more steps up the song-writing ladder to deserve to be compared to her mentioned inspirators, especially before reaching the same level of stability. Her understated funkiness on tracks like "School's Out" and "Human Condition" is very pleasant, and these tracks has a certain Steely Dan feeling to them. Otherwise, I guess you could be bored by the anonymity of the other songs, just as it is possible to get tired of the Fender Rhodes sound combined with Hammond's vocal phrasing. But the sound quality of this album is very good, the production is sparse but exquisite - my stereo seldom sounded so good!

Copyright © 2002 Knut Tore Breivik e-mail address

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