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Beth Ditto EP
Beth Ditto EP
Released 4 March 2011
Producer Simian Mobile Disco
Label Destruction Records
Length 15:27
Genre Electro
Website www.gossipyouth.com

It’s a well known law of the music industry that at some stage the most talented or the most marketable member of a given group will go solo while the lesser lights await the inevitable reunion tour somewhere down the line. Both Beyonce and Gwen Stefani took this route and few could argue with the results they both achieved. Now Beth Ditto has announced her intentions to put Gossip on hiatus and go solo, the early fruits of this decision being released as the four track EP.

Ditto has taken a detour from her punk roots and these four tracks find her in disco diva mode, not exactly a major shock given that so much of Gossip’s music is punk dance. Ditto has that kind of voice that should sound good in any genre and her versatility means that you never feel she’s out of her depth with these songs but it’s all a bit too sanitized, a million miles away from the angsty vocals of her signature tune, 'Standing in the Way of Control'.

For the most part these songs work as passable electronic fare. Produced by Simian Mobile Disco, all the beats and bleeps are in the right places but the end product is a little underwhelming. Of the four songs included here, three can be best described as by the numbers, namely 'Open Heart Surgery', 'Good Night Good Morning' and 'I Wrote The Book'. Their raison d’etre is to whet our collective appetites for the eventual album release but they fail to do so.

EP is partially saved by 'Do You Need Someone' which has Ditto exploring her vocal range a bit more. The squelching synths that swell over the staccato bass and percussion lines make this easily the most infectious track on show. It's still not exactly groundbreaking but to me represented the first sign of promise that an album worth of material might be worth listening to.

There’s no doubting that Ditto has the attitude and the talent to be a marketable solo artist but the material here is unlikely to inspire a lengthy career away from Gossip. For longevity, a rethink may be in order to come up with something a bit more edgy to become noticeable in a crowded market.

- Brian Kinsella