steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Sandy Dillon

"Nobody's Sweetheart" CD

One Little Indian

Genres: singer / songwriter, adult alternative

One Little Indian
34 Trinity Crescent
London SW17 7AE, UK

Oct 11 - 17 2004

The most obvious distinction of Sandy Dillon's music is her young, naive-sounding voice, but it's her wonderful songwriting that carries this disc.  In a similar vein to Portishead and Hooverphonic, Dillon composes dark, sweeping pop songs strong on both atmosphere and melody.  Few of Nobody Sweetheart's thirteen tracks depart from the spacey gloom established at the outset.

Sandy Dillon's best work comes when she adds a cinematic, orchestral layer of sound to the mix.  The cleverly-titled "It Must Be Love," for example, has a wonderfully selected strings sample pulled from Love's "Red Telephone."  Meanwhile, the trip-hoppy title track is accentuated by some wonderful, Hooverphonic-esque instrumentation courtesy of Julius Waters.  Other successful songs are based on slow, almost spooky atmospheres.  "Shoreline" is plugged-in and unsettling, while "A Girl Like Me" has a dark, Morsel-like groove.  "Mamma's Backyard," on the other hand, is the album's washy, organ-led closer; Waters' eerie, faraway strings add a discordant but moody feel to this song.

Dillon's less gloomy tracks are also quite enjoyable, but  they definitely add a different angle to this record.  "Don't Blame You Now" sounds very sixties-influenced, with a neat Jefferson Airplane quality to it (think "White Rabbit"), while "The Stain" has a strong groove and an uplifting chorus.  On the other hand, a few of Nobody's Sweetheart's songs don't quite match up to its best - "Now You're Mine" is irritating and too "bad girl"-esque, for example.  Amidst all the record's strong tracks, however, a few lesser moments are excusable.

Nobody's Sweetheart is the type of record that stays with you for years.  Dillon is a talented, mature songwriter, and her style is impressively unique.  Despite its "adult alternative" tag, this album should prove universally impressive - successful wherever true music-lovers dwell.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]