London E1 The Spitz

...most people have already gone home and stuck the [a]Sugarcubes[/a] on the stereo.

If slightly unhinged cutesiness was a profession, Emiliana Torrini would be a company director. Clad in what looks like haute couture for the insane, the Italian-Icelandic pixie flaps her arms, singing about fingertips and tuna, littering the air with kooky observations.

But not even Iceland's whole stock of endearing eccentrics could make her dreamy ditties seem anything more than pleasant wallpaper tonight. Maybe it's because she's fighting the flu, but the lazy, lulling 'Easy' has had all the magic trampled out of it, and 'Wednesday's Child', a synth-heavy Morcheeba-style ballad, is coffee-bar bland.

The problem for Torrini is that being sweet and elfin and singing a bit like other crazed north Europeans doesn't automatically make you wildly interesting. Or, indeed sellable, as the disappointing sales of her singles prove. But give her her due, she is trying. On tonight's finale, the Bond theme grandeur of 'Telepathy', Torrini cries with Shirley Bassey-like majesty and boots out insipidness for good. But by then, most people have already gone home and stuck the Sugarcubes on the stereo.

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