Desree - Dream Soldier

The fact that all anyone remembers Desree for is classic lines such "I'd rather have a piece of toast" on her "Life" single overshadows the fact that despite her dire rhyming dictionary lyrics she is one of our long-standing British Female Soul talents. "Dream Soldier" is the album which is going to do for Desree what "Who I Am" did for Beverley Knight" and "Rise" for Gabrielle.

"OK" may not have moved on lyrically from "Life" and I only need to use "Another day late for work. The Showers cold. You ain't got no clean shirts. A cup of tea might just do the trick. The milk's gone off. By now you're feeling sick" as a prime example of the rhyming dictionary in use. It's easy at this point to rant on that Desree speaks the same gritty reality as Coronation Street or Eastenders and therefore she is the true voice of love in the provinces but to say that really would be giving her too much credit. Where here lyrical prowess lacks her vocals are lush and the song itself has to be her best to date matching the simplicity of the lyrics with song which is part Motown ballad and part R&B light.

Elsewhere the production veers strangely enough to "The Invisible Band" by Travis with the banjo's introduction of "Why?" recalling "Flowers In The Window". "Righteous Night" is pleasant enough but is a little too close to religious Sunday School preaching for my liking. "Human" uses the classic string progression that Coolio used for "Gangsters Paradise" backed with an R&B beat and if it wasn't for the overtly simplistic social commentary of the lyrics it could be her breakthrough smash.

Desree is a huge vocal talent and if she just handed over lyrical duties to one of the songwriting production teams in the US she could reach out to a new audience, but as it stands "Dream Soldier" is an album of classic tunes let down by the pen of Desree herself.

Alex McCann

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