sat 23/03/2019

CD: Dido - Still On My Mind | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dido - Still On My Mind

CD: Dido - Still On My Mind

Dido's distinctive voice soars above a mix of electronica and acoustic guitar

Dido's happy accident

Twenty years on from No Angel, the most successful debut ever by a British woman which went on to become the top-selling album, worldwide, of 2001, Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong releases her fifth album. Spare output by most standards, though she has contributed songs (Britney Spears, Rihanna) and backing vocals elsewhere in the interim.

Dido has described Still On My Mind as “accidental” because she never plans anything, and the experience of its creation “magical”, perhaps because it was all so unexpected. It’s an album intended to capture “the rush” she herself gets from listening to music. Once again, brother Rollo Armstrong, producer and multi-instrumentalist, is the key collaborator and the result is a collection that is distinctly Dido, a voice (clear, vibrato-less, with those swoops and emotive catches) and style recognisable from “Thank You” and “White Flag”. Tasteful electronica, referencing dance and hip-hop with lovely acoustic touches from her own guitar and piano. She has described its making as “homespun”, much of it recorded from the sofa at home.

Of course, the folk sensibility is part of her DNA – her father was Irish, a publisher of note, and with him and to him, as he became ill, she sang so many old favourites. It was to him that her third album, the beautifully melancholic and tender Safe Trip Home, was dedicated.

Personally, I’d love to hear Dido do more of that, which is why “Have to Stay”, the closing track, is so appealing. Written to her son, it begins with her vocal soaring over a drone, played by Ryan Louder on keyboard. In the final third of the song, the keyboard swells, organ-like, before all sound is arrested. Incredibly effective. "Some Kind of Love" is beautifully folk-like and direct, keyboards swirling tastefully behind Pete Rinaldi's guitar picking.

“Hurricanes”, the opener, begins gently, just voice – later multi-cracked and ethereal – and guitar. “The sound and fury” never fully materialises but at mid-point the Sister Bliss keyboards come into effect, followed by Rollo’s beats programming. Then it all fades into oblivion on a small cushion sound. “Give You Up”, the single, has more than a few echoes of “White Flag” but it’s a bigger and more mature song.

Fans will think it very much worth the wait, and it will doubtless make her new ones.

Liz Thomson's website

Dido has described its making as 'homespun', much of it recorded from the sofa at home

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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