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Alesha Dixon - The Alesha Show: Encore

Alesha Dixon, The Alesha Show: Encore

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ALESHA Dixon becomes the latest artist to re-release an album in Deluxe, or rather Encore fashion (following the likes of Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis, et al).

Hence, The Alesha Show – Encore boasts four new songs, including To Love Again, the power ballad smash hit she co-penned with Take That’s Gary Barlow.

There’s also the vivacious floor-filler that is Shake (arguably the pick of the new material) that’s the riotous result of a collaboration between Dixon, Paloma Faith and Steve Booker (the man behind Duffy’s Mercy).

The Light is a power-pop offering that’s more straightforward pop than retro and the result of another collaboration with Xenomania, complete with the type of chorus that’s tailor-made for the term “radio friendly”.

All Out Of Tune, meanwhile, rounds off the Encore version with a breathy, moody power-ballad that evokes the memory of artists such as Leona Lewis and Rihanna courtesy of production values from Alex Da Kid and Manny Marroquin.

Admittedly, it opens out into quite a decent power-pop chorus, complete with swirling, emotive pianos… as well as a handclap back-beat. It’s probably a little too willfully manipulative, but a decent enough listen.

Shake is the real pick of the new stuff, though, with a fantastic set of retro vocals and lively brass flashes.

Of the older material… and the stuff that Dixon fans will already have in their collection, Let’s Get Excited and Breathe Slow sound like Sugababes and Pussycat Dolls imitations, while Play Me is pure Girls Aloud pop pap.

Hand It Over even flirts with Gwen Stefani (Hollenback Girl) style chanting at various points, before settling into a distinctly more R’n‘B groove.

And ballads such as Do You Know The Way It Feels sound hopelessly generic and lack any real sense of identity.

That said, there are some highlights in the form of the Mambo-flavoured former single The Boy Does Nothing, which is a breezy foot-stomper that finds Alesha’s vocals at their sassiest.

And the moody Italians Do It Better, which remains a fine example of her smooth grooving that stretches her vocals into almost Macy Gracy-style territory (nicely husky, more mature).

Hand It Over is a pretty decent effort, too, as is Don’t Let Me Go and the Duffy-esque Chasing Ghosts which, coincidentally, marks another collaboration with Mr Booker, complete with a retro ’60s vibe.

Hence, the overall result is a fairly decent pop offering that only looks set to further the Alesha success story in 2009 (she is one of only three debut British acts to break the Platinum sales threshold this year).

We just wish that such releases would take the form of new albums, or even mini-LPs/EPs that wouldn’t feel like quite such a rip-off (or insult) to fans who’ve already shelled out their hard-earned cash for the original forms of the album.

Download picks: Breathe Slow, The Boy Does Nothing, Chasing Ghosts, Italians Do It Better, Don’t Ever Let Me Go, Hand It Over, Shake

Track listing:

  1. # Welcome to the Alesha Show
  2. Let’s Get Excited
  3. Breathe Slow
  4. Cinderella Shoe
  5. The Boy does Nothing
  6. Chasing Ghosts
  7. Play Me
  8. Hand it Over
  9. Do You Know the Way it Feels
  10. Can I Begin
  11. Italians Do it Better
  12. Ooh baby I Like it Like That
  13. Don’t Ever let Me go
  14. I’m thru
    Bonus tracks
  15. To Love Again
  16. Shake
  17. The Light
  18. All Out of Tune