Album review: Gossip - A Joyful Noise

Beth Ditto reins in her lungs and leads Gossip down the path towards airbrushed dancefloor populism. But is it a step too far?

Girls Aloud and Kylie producer Brian Higgins’ fingerprints are all over Gossip’s fifth opus, which swerves from the electro-punk route of its predecessor into the commercial bosom of pop-disco.

Indeed, gutsy, underarm hair-bearing singer Beth Ditto listened to ABBA for a year in preparation.

The result? A clutch of songs you could imagine our Madge sniffing around, like the sultry, sparse disco of Love In A Foreign Place.

Ditto reveals a surprising and beautiful tenderness that breathes life into weaker synth-laden tracks, and gives the better offerings real sass.

The moody electro and stuttering backbeat of Involved pricks up the ears, before Ditto unbelts her voice to put a potential lover in their place.

Muted guitar fails to adequately beef up Melody Emergency’s sloping gait, but Higgins strikes pop gold with the funky guitar licks and brass tips of the slinky dancefloor-baiting Horns.

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3 stars