Album Review by Mark Bayross
After being unceremoniously evicted from the Sneaker Pimps for stealing the limelight from the poor chaps, Kelli Ali has at last released her debut album, recorded in LA last year. And, boy, does she show her former colleagues who’s boss…
One look at TIGERMOUTH and it’s clear that this is a real labour of love: the production from Madonna and Dido helmsman Rick Nowells is pristine; the songs radiate a summery euphoria; even the album’s title has a personal significance – Kelli took it from her kung fu teacher after he told her the name of the strength point on the hand.
Songs like HERE COMES THE SUMMER, QUEEN OF THE WORLD and lead single INFERNO HIGH LOVE give it away really – this is Kelli’s moment in the spotlight and she doesn’t waste the opportunity. Whether it’s the punky techno-rock of THE INFINITE STARS or the sister-solidarity country-trip-hop of TEARDROP, this album oozes quality – rich, warm electronics, layer upon layer of strings, and Ms Ali in fine, soaring voice.
Kelli’s travels have clearly broadened her musical and lyrical scope, from the influence of Japanese composers on the graceful PAPER MOON (inspired by Medieval Japanese writer Murasaki Shikibu’s “The Tale Of Genji”) to the deep, earthy strings and beats of ANGEL IN LA, she has crafted a work of consistent power and beauty.
If that wasn’t enough, SUNLIGHT IN THE RAIN sees Moulin Rouge musical director and Björk producer Marius De Vries help Kelli craft a song of stunning rousing majesty, while The Doors’ drummer John Densmore and Sabres of Paradise / Primal Scream collaborator Jagz Kooner give KIDS an extra percussive kick.
TIGERMOUTH’s track-listing is spot-on (it builds in intensity and scale as it goes on) and by the time the title song brings the album to a close in all its epic widescreen grandeur, there can be no doubt that this record is a triumph.
It looks like leaving the Sneaker Pimps was the best thing that ever happened to Kelli Ali.