STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 82899-15871 LABEL: Authentic 8205342 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2009-11-06 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
It's always pleasing to witness artists steadily growing in creative accomplishment. Ever since she left TBC in 2006 Shell has been a singer/songwriter of huge potential and her EP 'Made To Be Me' subsequently expanded into the album 'Have Your Heard?' showed that she had bags of vocal and songwriting gift. Now 'Beautiful Life' moves her to the next level. The opener promises "a one way ticket to Paradise" with all the power pop energy that has made her such a favourite among teenage girls. That's followed by the kind of clever warning of resisting the siren voices of the permissive society "Don't Take Your Clothes Off" which is every bit as hard hitting as her album debut's "Barbie Girl". Executed with wit and a catchy groove Shell delivers two versions of "Clothes", one addressed to the boys with a typically effervescent rap from thebandwithnoname's Chip K. Track three is radio hit three, "Take A Look At Yourself", a track with edgy riffing guitars and another of those hooks which will register with any radio dial surfer. Then, just to show Shell is no one trick pony there's a catchy mid tempo song "Nothing's Gonna Stop The Rain" where she's backed by a delicious, neo classical piano before developing into a deft mid tempo jogger and, most surprising of all, an exquisite, haunting song "Every Time I Fall" where an acoustic guitar underpins surely the best vocal Shell has ever delivered on what is already one of my favourite songs of the year. And so the album continues, a delightful set artfully balancing poptastic immediacy and musical intelligence, with production ratcheted up from her debut and a growing confidence in Shell's songwriting. A gem.
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In the two years since the release of her first album ‘Have You Heard?’, Shell has been touring, writing, recording, speaking, preaching, praying and everything else that goes hand in hand with being a top singer, songwriter, author and speaker with a powerful ministry.... somehow she’s also found the time to write some absolutely cracking pop songs, full of insightful, evocative and often witty lyrics that when put together make for a stunning new album that builds on the great power pop foundations of her debut and takes a step up in every way, shouting out the uplifting message that there’s a beautiful life available to everyone, just waiting to be lived.