ALISON SCOTT; Chinese Whispers (Alisco Records)

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Alison Scott is an indie singer/songwriter from Minneapolis who’s been building a steady fan base throughout the Midwest over the last couple of years. That fan base has been largely created by word of mouth – people spreading the word after witnessing her shows at jazz clubs and theatre shows. Now – with the release of her new, album, ‘Chinese Whispers’ – Ms. Scott is set to move on up to the next level. Why? Well, recent evidence shows that record buyers are becoming more and more disillusioned with the throwaway music world created by the major labels who manufacture hit songs which are more form than substance. They want properly crafted songs on albums that are created organically and here, Alison Scott’s done just that.

‘Chinese Whispers’ is stuffed with real songs – thoughtful, mature lyrics married to real melodies, played by real musicians on real instruments and sung with a commitment and conviction that used to be called soul. Don’t get me wrong, though, ‘Chinese Whispers’ isn’t a soul album in the classic sense of that word. It’s just that Alison writes and sings with a soul undertow in much the same way as say Adele or Corinne Bailey Rae. Indeed Ms. Bailey Rae is the best reference point for the music here… quality, adult pop-soul, best illustrated by the lovely ‘When The Needle Hits The Groove’. By any yard stick this is a great cut –affirming the power of music; sunshine, summer pop of the highest order. ‘Just For Us’ and ‘Upside Down’ are bright too… full of eager optimism. ‘The Trains’ is another album goodie – more sombre, it features some great muted trumpet from Steve King.

Best of the ballads is the gently building ‘I Stay Anyway’ while ‘Rock Me Sweetly’ is almost a lullaby. The album also boasts a cover of TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ and an intriguing, complicated album title song. That leaves ‘Smash And Grab’ – an indie rock tune with thrashing guitars that lack the soul sensibilities displayed elsewhere.

The prolific Ms. Scott has also just completed an interesting mini album of cover versions. ‘Hiding Under The Covers, Volume 2’ offers her brave attempts at songs originally recorded by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Elton John, The Beatles and Tom Waits. It’s a roller coaster affair and you can find out more about it – and indeed, ‘Chinese Whispers’ -@

(BB) 4/5