Shaznay Lewis - Open

Since All Saints split up a few years ago The Appleton Sisters released an album, both married musicians called Liam (Howlett and Gallagher) and wrote their autobiography. Melanie Blatt had a baby and released a single with the Artful Dodger. Shaznay Lewis had a small part in the movie "Bend It Like Beckham", but until now hasn't released any new material. Her debut solo single "Never Felt Like This Before" was a top ten hit proving her fans haven't deserted her.

"Heart Made Me A Fool" has elements of reggae and dancehall. Sounding fresh and modern, without being overproduced this would make an excellent choice for the next single to be taken off the album. "Mr Weatherman" is a poppy, summery song with its roots again in reggae and could quite easily be an All Saints album track. On this track Shaznay comes over a little Macy Gray, but with more class and emotion. The infectious synths and catchy chorus bring me to mind of a certain Miss Minogue. "Butterflies" has a retro disco feel with the strong influence of Diana Ross and Donna Summer while Shazza purrs with sheer delight like an in control, empowered sex kitten. It sounds like a unwritten theme for the next Austin Powers movie. "Now You're Gone" revisits the reggae influence which is quite a recurring theme on the album. Shut your eyes and hey presto, you could quite easily be on a beach in the Caribbean. The whole song is almost perfect in every way from the production, instrumental breaks and backing vocals.

"Open" should be a critical and commercial success. Here musical template is so diverse and refreshing that there's something to appeal to most music lovers. The production hits the mark every time and the involvement with Basement Jaxx adds credibility to the whole project.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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