Beth Ditto Beth DittoEP
DECONSTRUCTION (88697 85423 1, 12” + CD)
Beth Ditto’s first solo EP is a four-track psalm to the losers in love. Those still in the first flushes of a new romance might not appreciate the consistent themes of cheating, lost love and bruised hearts, but even so, it doesn’t need to appeal to your own personal sense of angst for you to recognise the brilliance of this EP.
If you loved the Simian Mobile Disco tune featuring Ditto’s vocals, then you’re going to love this even more. They’ve taken the sound of “ Cruel Intentions”, polished it up and turned it into a fully realised, trademark sound. The EP is also a refreshing change from the dirty dubstep that’s been doing the rounds. SMD have put together something that’s clean and precise, and it twins perfectly with Ditto’s vocals. She’s abandoned the more growly vocal moments of The Gossip: “ Do You Need Someone” is a song that demonstrates her ability to work at the softer, more shimmery end of the spectrum.
“ Open Heart Surgery” is a great combination of SMD’s new-time beats, and the old-time gospel power of Ditto’s voice, and it wouldn’t be a Beth Ditto record if there wasn’t at least one song exhibiting the power of her voice. The best song here, “ Good Night Good Morning”, has an intro that’s begging to find its way into your head for the rest of the day. There’s even a chance for nostalgia, with more than a nod to the sound of 90s dance on “ I Wrote The Book”. Ditto’s voice overall is more restrained than we’re used to hearing it, but the softening makes a great counterpoint to the sharp edge of Simian Mobile Disco.
As a whole, it is perhaps a little too much like Ditto is featuring on a SMD album. Along the way, it seems like some of her influences might have become submerged. Even so, it’s emotional without being sickening, and full of heartbreak without being maudlin. This is pretty much as close to pop perfection as it's going to get.