Santogold Santogold
    • THURSDAY, JUNE 05, 2008

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    "Don't be surprised what you discover" from this Philly lead-singer-producer-turned-solo-artist. There was a lot of hype about Santi White and her credits, including writing and producing on How I Do (Res) . Now she has donned the moniker of Santogold and made a pretty solid R&B, dub and hip-hop crossover album that keeps us jumping and dancing even after several listenings. You could say... its gold?

    Some comparisons may or may not be made (the press favorite being M.I.A.). It's true that fans will see a similarity, but despite working with similar people and similar influences, Santogold claims to be a diffrent breed. Which is understandable, with White being the lead singer of a punk rock/ska band (called Stiffed) prior to her solo career. Add in an all-star team of producers, some of her own producing credits and an appearance on Mark Ronson's last album and what do you get? A record that matches up quite nicely with the visual of regurgitating golden glitter (see: album cover).

    "L.E.S. Artistes" is a solid opening track. It sets the tone for the album. The grunge of the beats matches nicely with Santogold's vocals, which are kind of R&B married with pop and punk rock undertones. "Unstoppable" could be an MIA song (sorry, Santi). But we mean it in a good way, the record never loses its energy, even when it slows down on tracks like "My Superman." Some of it, especially "Lights Out," sounds almost like a Madonna comeback (if she had went the New York scenester route instead of the Timbaland multi-platinum sounds-the-same-as-all-the-other-Timbaland-tracks route). Or even a Gwen Stefani spin-off (but way better). If Gwen is bubble-pop, this is dirty glitter pop.

    The best part of the album for us is "You'll Find A Way," because it is the definitive Santogold sound (as far as we can assume from one album). It's got an indie-beat bass line, and Santogold's vocals are the exact blend of hip-hop, R&B and underground rock that you would expect from her background and experience. But that doesn't mean that the whole album isn't cohesive, even if at times it takes a different tone. Santogold gives us an impressive debut, and with her group of friends, we expect she'll be popping up all over the place in the future. For now, we'll dance around in our bedroom to her self-titled. -joe puglisi

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