There’s a great track on the upcoming Ed Case album called ‘Deal With The Matter’. It’s got Ms Dynamite MCing brutally over seismic bass, piston breaks and steel drum loops. It’s a stunning piece of garage mania. But more importantly it’s vital, compulsive, fresh: everything, basically, that ‘A Little Deeper’ isn’t.
OK, so we can get our heads around the fact that there’s two Ms Dynamites, the mighty garage girl of ‘Booo!’ and the slick R&B soulstress of ‘It Takes More’. What’s harder to compute is the disparity between the two, how one can be so raucously compelling and the other so interminably fucking boring?
Maybe it comes down to this: Ed Case is a young British producer dropping sonic tricks all over the shop, while ‘A Little Deeper’ appears to have been fashioned by a bunch of complacent chancers half-inching Neptunes breaks. It takes a while to work out what an absolute waste of 21-year-old Londoner Naomi McLean-Daley’s incredible talents this album is, but by the time ‘Gotta Let You Know’ rolls around, with its ‘silky’ textures (ie, Hall & Oates synth wash and mucho fiddly guitar nonsense), you’ll be picturing Alicia Keys giggling into her latte.
Before the creeping blandness takes control, ‘A Little Deeper’ promises everything. The opening anti-drugs rant finds Daley growling “Fuck coke, fuck Ecstasy/My music get me as high as I need”. The fantastic reggae shuffle of ‘Dy-Na-Mi-Tee’ follows, and you have to agree with her. ‘Put Him Out’, despite its standard scrub-baiting lyric, is nicely shouty with Kelis-a-like electroid flourishes. But after the awesome ‘It Takes More’ (a ‘Bug-A-Boo’ amidst a morass of ‘Emotion’s) and the hysterically orchestrated ‘Afraid 2 Fly’, it all goes a bit… well, name any slick US R&B type and you’ll get the idea.
Naomi Daley is going to be a star, but she may have to weather a lot of garage heads claiming ‘sell out’ along the way. She’d do well to listen to them, because this is a damp squib of a debut.