Album Review: Gossip - A Joyful Noise

12 June 2012 | 10:41 am | Tyler McLoughlan

Despite some great moments, there is a sense of disconnection between the vocals and the music, plus it just doesn’t pack as much Ditto as is required.

With singles including 2006's Standing In The Way Of Control and 2009's Heavy Cross highlighting Gossip's knack of working their trademark indie guitar sounds across funk, dance and soul, A Joyful Noise should have been a cracking fifth record. Though it seems frontwoman Beth Ditto spent most of Gossips' dance-pop collateral on her in-between-albums work with Simian Mobile Disco, firstly with guest vocals on their soaring club anthem Cruel Intentions, then borrowing their production duties for her solo EP.

First single Perfect World thereby feels like lowly album filler; taking almost a minute to hit a lackluster bottom range vocal from Ditto, a slight disco-funk vibe is finally emitted from the rhythm section at a point beyond resurrection. It's no wonder rumours of Mark Ronson's production involvement had the British big-wig admitting via Twitter “I didn't produce a single shred of music on the new Gossip album…”, and also stating that prior sessions with the Olympia trio didn't have the right chemistry – a fair comment on the album as a whole.

Casualties Of War shows that Ditto delivers best when she has a defined structure to work within; her vocal here is meandering and amateurish amidst simplistic percussion and quiet synth. Involved, however, has the ballsy frontwoman back in proper form, breathlessly belting out “I'm not in love with you/I'm just involved” with slick beats, memorable melody and a dancefloor chorus again the focus, as with last track Love In A Foreign Place which deserves to place much higher. Despite some great moments across A Joyful Noise, there is a sense of disconnection between the vocals and the music, plus it just doesn't pack as much Ditto as is required.