In 2008, Aussie poppet Gabriella Cilmi sauntered on to the music scene with her soulful single ‘Sweet Like Me’ – a honey-vocaled, enchanting piece of pop that promised oh-so-great things. But even her gorgeously mature voice couldn’t rectify the lacklustre offerings of her patchy debut. Yes, there are lessons to be learned Gabriella, that being we’d like a little less poorly executed pop and more sensual soul.
Sadly this mediocre follow-up is no better. It starts off quite promising. For the first seventeen seconds, ‘On A Mission’, sounds like it could be great. Ooh, is that a Fischerspooner-inspired electro undercurrent’¦ but then’¦ oh, oh no, it’s like every cheesy, horrible aspect of the ’80s was vomited into one song. Or rather if it was all piled into one song, it might be somewhat bearable but rather unfortunately the clichÃ© manages to spread itself thinly across the following 11 tracks.
Cilmi’s jazz-trained voice deserves better than this formulaic Xenomania-aided nonsense. Despite their reputation as purveyors of catchy pop hits, the Xeno crew seem woefully unable to give poor Gabriella anything decent. Still, part of the blame has to lie with the 18-year-old Melbourne native as she seems proud to mention her co-writing credits.
Perhaps she deserves a nod for her attempt to rhyme as many words as possible with -mission’ in 20 seconds including an incredibly tenuous -trippin’. It’s almost impressive. Other lyrical masterpieces of note include the romantic: “What if we could love each other as robots? What if kisses were ones and zeros? We’d see the world through electric windows,’ as she sings in the curiously metaphor-ed ‘Robots’ with its interesting though slightly bizarre sex-pant, CD-skip ending.
But wait, it’s not all bad and indeed it’s gets a touch better towards the end – the church-bell clanging, rolling electro-pop of ‘Boys’ is kinda memorable – but overall, it’s pretty awkward and dated. However if you weren’t a particularly fussy type, you could certainly let this one play on in the background. Whether or not you’d actually like it much is less certain.