I first got to know Paloma Faith while watching an episode of the music quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks on which she featured. She was wearing a jaunty, yellow pillbox hat and the sleeves of her jacket were decorated with huge, colourful pom-poms. I remember someone on the show asking her to sing her song Stone Cold Sober and she immediately launched into an acapella rendition of it after which comedian Noel Fielding exalted “I’m slightly in love with Paloma.” Paloma Faith has always been one to make an impression, with her over the top outfits, kooky personality and, of course, her wonderful voice. This was the voice that brought us the soulful Picking Up The Pieces, one of my favourite Paloma Faith vocal performances.
New single Can’t Rely On You is a little different to Faith’s past work. Produced, written by and featuring man of the moment Pharrell Williams, the lyrics are frequently fragmented and a lot of repetition is used, but in a really effective way. The focus of the track is much more production-oriented than Faith’s solo work, with a mix as tight as a Daft Punk track. It is very funky and even features some cowbell (and I can’t keep making Christopher Walken jokes every time a cowbell is used so I’ll be quiet this time).
There has been some controversy recently over the guitar riff used, with Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos claiming on Twitter that it was stolen from his band’s song Take Me Out. It is similar, but as it is a fairly simple riff and there is a bit of difference between the two I wouldn’t call it “stolen.” Kapranos has of course since apologised for that comment.
Faith’s vocal performance is highly accomplished on this number with not a single note out of line and her efforts on the track help push the singers vocals under the spotlight from start to end. Can’t Rely On You is exactly what we were hoping for with a new Paloma Faith. She has truly outdone herself both musically and vocally here and the single is testament to her popularity and reputation as one of music’s finest acts, both at home in the UK and on the international stage.