Kathy Diamond, Miss Diamond To You

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

In much the same way that Amy Winehouse updates gritty southern soul (or Lily Allen bounces on top of skanky rhythms), fellow Brit Kathy Diamond evokes a bygone music genre. Diamond's debut is a throwback to the halcyon haze of the discotheques of the '70s and, much like her namesake, the Sheffield-based singer sparkles — and is at times translucent — like many divas of the era who were merely bookmarking the extended breaks with catchy choruses.

Mu’s main man and Sheffield singer team up for one of the best dance full-lengths of the year.

For stretches of the album, Diamond disappears completely into the cavernous productions provided by Maurice Fulton (who has had a hand in everybody from Crystal Waters to !!!). But Diamond is not simply icing on the beats — instead, she projects a cool and sensuous physicality whenever her coo materializes, Cheshire Cat-like, atop the glossy surfaces of the songs.

Rather than being rote in his disco homage, Fulton draws sounds from a myriad of sources: The guitar lines on "Another Life" and "Between the Lines" shimmer and undulate, evocative as King Sunny Adé (or the Durutti Column for that matter). The break on "All Woman" slyly imagines a pipedream band of Latin percussion legend Willie Bobo, Stevie Wonder and Chic's Niles Rodgers — perhaps at work on Thriller — while the echoing clavé on "Over" resounds as loudly as the one on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" (which itself, of course, anticipated disco).