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Single Review: Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You

I’ll never be one to tell Paloma Faith she can’t do something. Imagine being her record label though. ‘Fall To Grace’ becomes huge, swooping orchestral pop becomes her thing. Then she walks in with a song like ‘Can’t Rely On You’. “Paloma”, they might say, “we’ve already carved you a niche, can we stick with that”. No, seems to have been the answer because now we’re sitting with the aforementioned song in our laps as the lead single from Paloma’s third musical venture. Perhaps the only thing it took to convince the big bosses was a feature from Pharell. That man is gold dust lately.

It is a venture too. This is a proper departure from the last record. It’s slick and minimal which is a contrast to the cacophony she had previously conjured. The backing beats are pretty simple claps with the occasional burst of brass. Perhaps it’s Pharell himself that does it, but the whole arrangement feels close to the behemoth ‘Blurred Lines’, the only difference being Paloma’s vocals. She sounds at home with the jazzy, soulful vibes and it gives her just enough room to deliver the vocals that always have set her apart from her peers. The moments when her voice gives way to intense passion are mesmerising.

Perhaps I expected more of a kick from Paloma though – especially as the third record found her at the strongest point in her career so far. ‘Can’t Rely On You’ is addictive and all, but it feels catered to fit the mainstream. No problem with that at all, might I add – the video itself keeps one foot firmly in her atristy to counter balance it all. But whilst ‘Fall To Grace’ was underlined by it’s fierce emotion, this album seems to be going for the element of surprise and doing something you might not have expected from Paloma. I am just here yearning for something slightly more off-the-wall. I have faith though. (Get it?!?! Hahahha etc.)

Nobody can deny that Faith knows exactly what she wants and the record still promises to be a treat. As the video itself ends with a stirring pronunciation – ‘this is just a beginning’, it becomes clear that the song is only a part of the path she is carving. One chapter from the book. The one thing I love about this being the new Paloma single is that it’s shocked me. And I retain that, at the very least, Faith keeps things fresh and exciting. This album is going to be an interesting one then, isn’t it?

Words: Simon McMurdo

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