4

Terra-ble!

The internet has been responsible for many great things during its relatively short-lifespan but the release of this debut album from Terra Naomi is surely not one of them. Naomi became a sensation after a virtual tour on You Tube landed her with a major label publishing deal and this album is the first fruits of her labours with Paul Fox (XTC, 10,000 Maniacs).

Proceedings start rather ominously with "Say It's Possible" a transparent homage to those recent U2 ballads which should be filed under "not for public consumption". "Not Sorry" the first single from the album is pretty standard radio-friendly pop rock fare by contrast. Inoffensively bland, it's easy to zone out while listening to it. "Up Here" an autobiographical number that references Terra's transition from waitress to internet sensation and beyond is similarly ineffectual. It's the kind of number Meredith Brooks or Alanis Morissette would have churned out as album filler almost a decade ago. "I'm Happy" is much more promising, a spiky guitar pop number on which Terra sounds generally fired up for the first time, alas it doesn't last. The piano led ballad "Never Discussed" features another fine vocal performance but musically you can imagine it sound-tracking a poignant scene of emotional heartbreak in errr..."One Tree Hill". I was going to sway a lighter to this number but then I remembered a) that would involve a certain amount of effort and b) I haven't actually got a lighter.

The arrangement for the folksy "Flesh For Bones" is deft by comparison but is actually one of the album's few genuine moments of promise. Fortunately the relatively high standard is maintained temporarily by "Close To Your Head" a clear contender for single number two if Island's A&R people have any sense. "Jenny" ends the short run of tolerable tracks though, a clunky power ballad of sorts its "girl power" lyrics are cringe-worthy but are much better than the plodding "Million Ways" another track which has this writer zoning out. The unimaginatively titled "New Song" (another tedium inducing power ballad) and "Something Good To Show You" end the album in rather non-descript fashion. Of the latter Naomi admits that "(it will) make a lot of people mad, and a lot of people very excited). Alas it's hard to muster much emotion either way after the gruelling forty minutes which precede it.

Naomi is clearly an accomplished musician with a fine voice but the glossy production and second-hand tunes do her no favours. No doubt she'll go the way of Sandi Thom and sell albums by the bucket-load but it's tragic that the masses lap up this dull nonsense when they can buy albums by Marissa Nadler and Meg Baird instead. I didn't buy into the scene which spawned "Jagged Little Pill" (and various clones) the first time around so mediocre re-runs aren't going to cut the mustard.