DIRA: Something About The Girl (Label: Expansion)

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DIRA: Something About The Girl

Dira J Sunagadi hails from Indonesia and a few years back she went to see Incognito on one of their regular Asian tours. She had more on her mind, though, than just enjoying the show… she came armed with her own demo recording and was determined to get it to Bluey. This she achieved and Mr. M. was so impressed with what he heard that Dira was quickly signed to Bluey Music Inc and the pair began recording this, her debut album. Gainsayers might suggest that Bluey was looking for a new lead voice for Incognito and listening to the eleven tracker there are a number of cuts that could sit perfectly on any of the collective’s albums. ‘Let’s Go Back’ (with guest vocal from Omar) comes on like prime time, mid-tempo Incognito while the busy, bubbling brass on ‘Get Through To You’ makes the cut another great Incognito sound-alike. As “familiar” is ‘No More Tears’ – another great dance number … but hey, there’s nothing wrong with any of them. They’re all great tunes and to compare them to Incognito is a compliment. But Bluey’s musically wise-enough to know that this is Dira’s own album and elsewhere there’s lots that are distinctly her own – along with a couple of real surprises. The opening two tracks (‘Inside Love’ and ‘Time Out Of Tine’), for instance, are lazy and languid while ‘Loving A Stranger’ has a jazz undertow and both ‘Daydream’ and ‘Essentially Yours’ are sweet ballads allowing Dira to show what she’s capable of….very different to the almost soulful house of ‘Bring It On’. Then the real surprises; First up is a lovely Latin swayer, ‘Won’t You Come With Me’, replete with hook laden chorus, pretty electronic percussion and mute trumpet stabs; then there’s the real left fielder – a piano-only accompanied version of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Hand On Your Heart’. It’s stripped right down to a tender ballad and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a different song. Good for Dira for trying it and good for her (and us!) for getting that demo to Bluey!
(BB) 4/5