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Boomkat Product Review:
Santi White stands at the very summit of the hype mountain, with seemingly all corners of the music press commending her as a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale musical climate. It could be argued that this debut album has less to do with freshness and invention than it does a schizoid approach to writing and production, one which only serves to obscure a potentially strong, individual voice. You'll notice an unusually high number of comparisons made in this review (and other Santogold reviews on these pages) with numerous other artists, and while that might indicate a certain amount of lazy journalistic protocol on my part (I'm still sticking with 'L.E.S. Artistes' boiling down to a fantasy Nelly Furtado/Yeah Yeah Yeahs collaboration), it's also because Santogold really does sound a lot like other people. A lot. The thoroughly enjoyable 'I'm A Lady' ends up sounding a whole bunch like The Pixies, while 'Say Aha' comes across like a Northern soul take on The Jam, something which makes more sense when you consider that White sang on Mark Ronson's version of 'Pretty Green' by Weller and co. The ubiquitous M.I.A. comparisons are not without substance, though that's probably got something to do with the fact that similar collaborators appear on the album - Diplo, most notably - but there's really no excuse for something like 'Creator': it just sounds like a cheap knock-off of Maya Arulpragasam's material without bringing anything of genuine interest to the table. Odd then that it should be one of the album's more widely played tracks. Far, far better are '80s pop tributes like 'Lights Out' or the ska-influenced new wave of 'You'll Find A Way' which at least avoid directly channelling the spirit of any specific artists. It's debatable as to whether Santi White is original for making such a restlessly diverse album, or whether her easily identified magpie tendencies ultimately drag her down. Frankly, a lot of people won't care because this debut is so easy to get hooked into, and however much they might sound like the work of other people, a good many of these songs are actually pretty great.