Break – Pamela Sue Mann (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

First impressions are massive in life, that split second when your mind sub consciously decides whether something can be trusted or not, liked or not, goes a long way to how you feel about something long term. Music is the same, the opening few notes of an album can keep you interested or make you reach for the skip button. Listening to ‘I Want Your Soul’ from Pamela Sue Mann’s latest album, ‘Break’ might make you instantly think of the cult classic movie ‘Napoleon Dynamite’, with it’s programmed electric rhythms and home keyboard tone (but then again I love the film and soundtrack) but it’s all a ruse dear listener, seconds later and we’re greeted with the shy husky voice of Mann that creeps in like a mix between Alison Goldfrapp and Kylie Minogue.

On the surface the music is sparse and sounds like it was devised in a teenager’s bedroom but, again, this is a ruse, it’s nicely layered and reeks of experience and someone at the helm knowing what they’re doing. As an album it’s a total success with enough twists and turns to keep people happy and wondering where the music will go next. Being set against looped drums gives a distant, out of reach feel, matching that voice perfectly, through headphones the music takes on a different guise and feels like the music is coming from your head and out through your ears rather than the other way around.

Musician wise, Mann has surrounded herself with players that have shared studio time with PJ Harvey, Kate Bush and David Bowie and these influences come through, hers is a music that takes snippets from different styles but is brought together nicely like a sorcerer mixing a potion.

The latter part of 2019 seemed to be a rich harvest for musicians, this album was released in November, meaning I get a great start to the new decade, it’s an album I’ve returned to a few times and it’s holding up, an album will no filler benefits everyone and considering the album is twelve tracks long (with two radio edits bringing it to fourteen) it’s a very strong album.

If eclectic, electronic music with soul is your thing, this is definitely worth some of your time. You won’t be disappointed.

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