By Polly Paulusma
Female singer/songwriters/lad-mag-pin-ups really are 10 a penny these days. You only have to look at the charts to see Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Katie Meluah et al aiming to take a slice of Beth Orton's melancholic pie from under her bovine features.
Thankfully, Polly Paulusma's breathy vocals, introverted lyrics and well orchestrated big band brass give the girl-on-girl market something to think about. The vocals on "Over the Hill" float delightfully over the top of a simmering Irish-ish melody before a waltzing breakdown whisks you off over the rainbow, arm in arm with a mischievous goblin.
"Perfect 4/4" is more of the same as lush strings are placed over the top of quirky lyrics. It's very, very easy on the ear, a bit like that chat with the Mrs about the new Ikea lampshade you bought, while you idly flick through the latest Uncut/NME/Q.
It doesn't demand your full attention, a couple of simple cursory nods and glances will do but the end result is pleasant enough without being fully distracting. Perfect girlfriend material then.