RIETTA Cut Me Loose (2006)
Originally from New Zealand, but now London based, Rietta Austin is one of the southern hemisphere's leading vocalists (or so it says in the press release accompanying the album). Capable, by all accounts, of delivering anything from jazz, soul, r&b, pop and rock. And Kirk Pengilly from INXS agrees. So it must be true.
Trouble is, Rietta ends up being something of a jack-of-all-trades, and master of none. Billed as a mix of Anastacia, Joss Stone and Aretha, there's no two ways about it, Rietta has a great set of lungs on her - capable of power, soul and melodic whispers. But a great set of pipes won't cut it on their own. You need the material and the delivery. And there's the rub.
Firstly the material. Nothing wrong with it, but it's just average fare - typical of what you might get on a sub-standard mid-80's Tina Turner album - middle of the road with a hint of rock. Power-pop with a bit of soul and funk thrown in. Then there's the delivery. Rietta may have a four octave range, but she shifts from one to another constantly - in many instances to the detriment of the song.
Unfortunately, the combination of (at best) average material and a poorly directed performance mean that Cut Me Loose is exactly what is going to happen to Rietta and her record company when the album sinks without trace. Which is a shame, because with the right material and guiding hand, the girl could go far.
Review by Pete Whalley