The Other Side of the Girl Diana May Clark Independent
As the title may suggest, Diana May Clark, who’s best known for her prowess as a chic bossa nova crooner, turns the other cheek and displays a different side of her oeuvre — one that may surprise her admirers. On The Other Side of the Girl the Melburnian diva is backed by, among others, string bender extraordinaire Doug de Vries and multi-instrumentalist and producer Greg Arnold of Things Of Stone & Wood fame, on an album of self-composed singalong songs that mixes Beatlesque pop with Musica Popular Brasileira flair and elements of other genres. De Vries, Australia’s premier practitioner of acoustic seven-string Brazilian-style guitar, reveals another side of his playing, unleashing screaming electric solos on several tracks — most aptly in the funky Fluorescent — and adding twangy tremolo to Tango Noir. Clark’s sensuality and sassiness drips from the retro rocker In Love with Love and the funky Blueprint, which respectively open with suggestive lines: “stealing the sweetest bite of the stone fruit’s juicy skin / raspberry gin bubbles and bounces off my chin” and “I like your blueprint and all its glitches / such a sweet, sleek design, so catchy it itches”. Batucada Bonde has reggae/ska underpinning a la Carlinhos Brown. Mama Africa gets a quirky makeover courtesy of de Vries’s banjo, while that song’s Brazilian composersinger, Chico Cesar, contributes a groovy vocal improvisation to Clark and partner’s parting song, Hang On. Musically, rhythmically and lyrically, The Other Side of the Girl offers polished pastiche.