catchy, clever, sleek
Amplified Heart (Atlantic)
Everything But The Girl

By Mark Clark

Sleek, jazzy compositions. Haunting melodies. Heartfelt vocals. Poignant, bittersweet lyrics. Those are some of the many virtues of Amplified Heart, the latest release from Everything But the Girl.

If you've heard the lead single, "Rollercoaster," you've heard some of the best this disc has to offer. Danny Thompson lays down a smooth line on his fretless bass, drummer Dave Mattacks taps out the backbeat on a snare with brushes. Then singer Tracey Thom, her voice thirsty for understanding, enters: "I still haven't got over it even now / I want to spend huge amounts of time on my own ... The appeal of Thorn and co-singer/ songwriter Ben Watt's melodies is inescapable from the first listen. But a catchy tune only stands up as long as decent lyrics support it. After all, there's nothing worse than having a stupid song stuck in your mental jukebox. Luckily, all these tunes will be welcome guests in your cranium.

Clever phrases are turned ("If you lose your faith, you can have mine" and "I miss you like the deserts miss the rain" stand out) and sundry romantic themes are explored while you hum along.

I love this album. How's that for an endorsement?