Cherise : Look Inside

Pony UK R&B

The problem with pushing for the most futuristic sound is that you date almost immediately. R&B's evolution has been thrillingly super-charged, but the price paid is for once-cutting edge sounds - 'No Scrubs', 'Caught Out There' - to be resigned to a nostalgic time capsule after a few months, unable to compete with 'Bootylicious' or 'We Need A Resolution'.

In time, of course, even Destiny's and Aaliyah will be rendered redundant. But not yet, and certainly not by Cherise, whose tepid budget-soul burblings wouldn't have sounded avant-garde in a 1950s Leeds working men's club. Her arrival's announced with the dull thud of cut-price press release facts which barely register on the hype radar - she's, like, really young (well, 18), she won a MOBO award for Best Unsigned Act, and she supported Missy Elliott at Brixton (but then, who didn't?) And that's about it. So, she's not Alicia Keys then.

To be fair, the fault of the flaccid 'Look Inside' is not really hers. She's got a competent voice, even if her lyrics reveal just how much a child of the US R&B revolution she is ("bitch", "baller" and "trifling" within the first 30 seconds of '2nd Best' - she's from Hammersmith). But the production and tunes from the Big Brovaz team are paltry, less Timbaland than Millets own-brand. Outmoded before they even started, you wonder why they bothered.

Christian Ward
4 / 10

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