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Album Review – Melody Gardot, ‘Currency of Man’

‘Currency of Man’ is the fourth full length album by Grammy-nominated Melody Gardot, and it is the soundtrack to an artist who is fully comfortable in her own skin.

From the albums opening track, ‘It Gonna Come’, Gardot’s voice slips seamlessly through her lyrics. Her vocals are powerful but controlled, evoking comparison to Dusty Springfield. She appears to draw on similar influences to Springfield. ‘Preacherman’ evokes the feel of a gospel spiritual, but features a contemporary guitar accompaniment that could be straight off a Jack White single. ‘Morning Sun’ conjurers up the same set of influences, but the White-esq guitars are replaced with astripped back piano that showcases Gardot’s vocal proficiency perfectly.

‘Same To You’ is a strong track, exploiting brass and a free saxophone part in order to avoid the album becoming stagnated. ‘Bad News’ might be the strongest track on the album. Here, Robert Johnson style finger-picked blues guitar again exposes Gardot’s voicc. Where for some singers of her style this exposure would illuminate weakness, it only serves to evidence Gardot’s incomparable vocal control.

The album does weaken towards the end however. ‘She Don’t Know’ and ‘Once I Was Loved’ are by no means the strongest songs on the album. That said this is perhaps an unfair comparison given the strength on show elsewhere.

‘Currency of Man’ is a strong album. Gardot proves that she can take on a few different styles of arrangement, and is impressive every time. While I think she is at her best when her vocals are given room to breathe, this is purely subjective. What is clear is that Gardot is an artist hitting her stride, and totally comfortable producing the music she loves.

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