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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

If the ti­tle of Natalie Im­bruglia’s first al­bum in six years doesn’t ring alarm bells then the con­tents cer­tainly leave one with a sense of un­ease. Male stems from the for­mer Neigh­bours star­let and Torn singer choos­ing to raid the song­book of her favourite bloke song­writ­ers, from Damien Rice to Daft Punk and from Josh Pyke to Neil Young, giv­ing each track an MOR pop sheen, thanks to the stu­dio smarts of Amer­i­can go-to pro­ducer Billy Mann. One can’t help but won­der how much he had to do with the ar­range­ments for the 12 songs here, since at least a few of them can­not be taken se­ri­ously. The first is Pete Town­shend’s hit Let My Love Open the Door, which in Im­bruglia’s hands be­comes an awk­ward, breezy mess of flutes and mil­i­tary drum­ming. Her voice is bet­ter suited to Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart, which she de­liv­ers del­i­cately and in har­mony over only bass guitar ac­com­pa­ni­ment. So too Pyke’s wordy The Sum­mer al­lows the sweet­ness of Im­bruglia’s voice to cut through in a 1960s pop style a la Sandie Shaw. Less suc­cess­ful is her read­ing of Daft Punk’s In­stant Crush, which starts off well as an acous­tic bal­lad be­fore ex­plod­ing into an ex­cru­ci­at­ing jazz-funk cho­rus. Worst of all, though, is the Cure’s Fri­day I’m in Love; a brave choice, per­haps, proved folly by its de­tour into a break­neck blue­grass romp. Here is a hideous love child of Ali­son Krauss and Benny Hill that would surely turn Robert Smith’s mas­cara into a river of tears.

Male Natalie Im­bruglia Sony

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