MUSIC REVIEW: Great promise undone by four minutes of madness

Speak A Little Louder by Diane Birch.
Speak A Little Louder by Diane Birch.
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American Diane Birch (31) could be one of the most mesmeric, magnetic and potentially meteoric singer-songwriters of the decade.

From the same preacher’s-daughter-turned-prodigal-girl roots as pop queen Katy Perry, Birch’s new album Speak A Little Louder is however a world away from the sounds of the former Mrs Russell Brand.

With a voice reminiscent of 80s pop starlet Belinda Carlisle and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, Birch offers an 11-track album mixing church influences with electro-pop and Motown soul.

The tile track Speak A Little Louder starts the album with a Celtic feel, followed by the Dylanesque Lighthouse, with a slice of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill thrown in for good measure.

All The Love You Got could have been written by West Yorkshire songstress Corinne Bailey Rae such is its seductiveness and the rest of the album follows suit, with nods to Christopher Cross (Pretty in Pain), the Eurythmics (Love and War) and John Lennon (Diamonds in the Dust).

But the album’s rich promise is undone by the tenth track, with a title too offensive to name in this column.

Whether it was written as a long-term relationship came to an end or in a fit of Alanis Morrisette-style pique, Michigan-born Birch has let one song cast a stain on the rest of her stunning work.

Review by Winston Brown