Santigold - Santogold - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Santigold - Santogold

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Santi White (formally Santogold, now renamed Santigold thanks to threatened legal action from an infomercial jeweller) was not the only artist to make 2008 the year of the genre hop. Like Black Kids, Hot Chip and Passion Pit, Santigold had her indie-rock-disco-soul-whatever cake and scoffed the lot. Unlike those other acts, however, Santigold chose to bring a knife and fork to the table with which to delicately compartmentalise each genre, because, with the exception of the indie-goes-dub floor-filler 'Say A-Ha', Santogold keeps things neat and separate.

This makes the album a somewhat mixed up banquet and its creator a rather mercurial figure. She's strident and shrill on 'Unstoppable and 'Creator', fronting out the world in triumphant MIA style. Both tracks borrow from MIA's global ghetto blueprint, pile-driving minimalist electro into glutinous dubstep bass. But that's really where the comparison between the two ends. MIA has yet to attempt the rock classicism of 'L.E.S. Artistes', a bravely cool-dodging track which, with its video referencing Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain, proved to be Santigold's pathway into the mainstream.

The unironic guitars return on 'Lights Out', a sweetly untroubled new wave track which swings with the joie de vivre of The Go-Go's and Altered Images. 'I'm a Lady', meanwhile, is as arrestingly sexy and sure of itself as anything Ms Debbie Harry ever committed to vinyl. The easy nature of these songs and the confidence oozing from Santigold's vocal performance suggest they may be representative of her true artistic style, although their comfy distance from the cutting edge might not satisfy an artist who clearly makes it her agenda to push things forward.

It may leave you guessing somewhat as to the realness of its maker, but Santogold proves that, like Bowie and Madonna before her, Santigold can adapt to any musical ground she chooses to stake as her own. Her next move could confound and astound.

Best tracks: 'I'm a Lady', 'Lights Out', 'L.E.S. Artistes'

Richard Morris

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