All Saints “All Saints” (London) ** 1/2
Natalie Imbruglia “Left of the Middle” (RCA) **
No, they’re not the new Spice Girls, insist British female foursome All Saints. We can sing, we can write. We have talent!
True enough, but too bad they don’t make better use of it. Sure, Shaznay Lewis, Melanie Blatt and Nicky and Natalie Appleton - declared by the panting English press to be the “sexiest band in the world” - are capable vocalists, and their debut platter proffers an hour’s worth of serviceable popfunk. But unlike those unashamedly shallow Spice Girls, All Saints are above indulging in the deliciously trashy slice of throwaway fluff. Which leaves us with tepid covers of LaBelle and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and little else worth remembering.
The other distaff sensation to make a recent Atlantic crossing is British gamine Natalie Imbruglia, whose terrific loss-of-faith single “Torn” is assaulting the top of the charts. Next-Alanis-or-Fiona hopes for Imbruglia quickly vanish once the album-opening “Torn” is behind you; the rest of “Left of the Middle,” which unlike the hit, Imbruglia wrote herself, is little more than a muddled collection of angsty ‘90s femme-rock cliches.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Dan DeLuca The Philadelphia Inquirer