Paloma Faith, “Fall To Grace”

Paloma Faith, Fall to Grace, Album Cover, 30 Minute Love Affair

The “End,” is just the beginning, on Fall To Grace.

When Paloma Faith made her music debut in 2009 with Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? there were glimpses of greatness. Beautiful singles like “New York,” and the album’s title track cued the introduction of a interesting artist willing to display raw emotion.

But, the album wasn’t perfect. Peaking at number 9 on the British charts, the album spawned a handful of middling singles. Three years later, Ms. Faith has returned to prove that The Truth wasn’t a fluke and that she’s a truly unique chanteuse.

As with her debut, Faith has co-written nearly every track on the album (all but the sexy “Let Me Down Easy” a Betty LaVette cover) and partnered with producer Nellee Hooper (No Doubt, Madonna, The ‘Romeo+Juliet’ score) for a consistent sound. A path has been forged into a richer, more cinematic sound as opposed to the often cheeky quirk of her former disc.  Here a singer’s soul is on display for all to see.

Of course, it’s no surprise Fall to Grace plays like a movie, Faith’s a singer-slash-actress after all, and a convincing one at that.

True, it can be said that another certain British singer has really taken the neo-soul torch and run with it–you know which 21something I’m talking about–but this ginger vixen is holding her own with a voice that’s distinct and plush. Plus, she’s not afraid to delve into her sensual side.

“Let Me Down,” is by far Faith’s sexiest tune to date, but second single “30 Minute Love Affair,” is a sophisticated, albeit-foolish, romance.

For the most part, Grace‘s muse is heartbreak.

Check out the just-released video for “30 Minute Love Affair.”

It’s clear the singer has had plenty of experience–each tune is down, but with an underlying light and hope. The music provided by Hooper and the couple of other producers is a perfect fit. Obviously inspired by the sounds of the past; jazz, soul and 60s pop rule supreme, but modern electronic infusions give the album a high gloss on the surface.

A standout like “Agony,” with sweeping strings and thunderous drums is some of Faith’s theatrical best. But her real emotional standout, perhaps when she leaves the actress behind and fully reveals herself, “Just Be,” is truly gorgeous. Singing of the end of a relationship in both wails and whispers.

Crushing and sublime.

This is no actress dipping her foot into the world of acting for the fun of it. Paloma Faith is an old soul with a little bit of funk. Both celebrating music’s past, and embracing modern textures. Though the fun of her first album is missing, this is by far her most personal work to date. Some of the LP’s final ballads fall a bit short, but don’t do much to tarnish the whole.

Have Faith, Paloma’s Grace is no fluke.

Download: “30 Minute Love Affair,” “Let Me Down Easy,” “Just Be,” the disco-tinged “Blood, Sweat And Tears,” spase ballad “Streets of Glory,” pulsing first single “Picking Up The Pieces.”

Grade: B+