Spin Me Right 'Round: Esthero's Wikked Lil' Album

Monday, March 2, 2009

Canadian trip-hop artist Esthero does a switcheroo with her second outing, and the outcome is about as eclectic as a college dormitory's cafeteria selections. In 1998, the vocalist released a very ambitious debut by the name of Breath Of Another. The album sparked a small hit out of the thrashing rock jolt of "That Girl" and branded Esthero as an sophisticated yet edgy trance/house artist on the rise. After a lengthy absence from the music scene, Esthero returned to the moody soul notes of her debut, on her sophomore effort, 2005's Wikked Lil' Girls , but with a more poppier and sunnier approach. Joined by the likes of Andre 3000, Sean Lennon and Cee-Lo, Esthero delivers track after track of musical goodness with her brooding soulful tone guiding the way. Songs like the Sade-esque, "Thank Heaven For You" and the hypnotizing horn laden "Dragonfly's Outro" are evidence of Esthero's trance past but things are altered with tracks like the jazzy pop of "Bad Boy Clyde" and the punchy 30's swing of the title track. Lead off track, "We R In Need Of A Music Revolution" thunders with truth amidst it's sonic 80's synth boom. Esthero blatantly calls out the shoddy condition of the music industry by claiming she's "tired of the shit on the radio"...truer words never were spoken. What stuns more so is the big band groove of "Melancholy Melody" which so far has been on constant rotation with me. Still, at times, it seems like Esthero can't figure out if she wants to be a pop/R&B brat or a sleek singing chanteuse, as each track bounces from style to style, yet maybe that is why this album is so accessible. Wikked Lil' Girls is in itself an exciting listening experience from an artist who needs to resurface for album number three.

Rating: 9.0/10

Esthero sings live and in living color on Jimmy Kimmel...I'm mesmerized by those pants

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