Showing her versatility, Joan Armatrading returns to what is for her a more traditional style of songwriting, after 2008's "Into the Blues" saw her venture - very successfully - into electric blues.
This collection of songs is nearer to her folkier roots, though the arrangements are written for a "rock" band and Joan herself mainly plays electric guitar, although with only occasional flavours of the blues of that last album.
This is a good, though not great album. Measured as a stand-alone work, it offers a fine selection of electrified singer-songwriter folk-pop songs: anyone listening to Joan for the first time should be rightly impressed at the songwriting ability and the performance. Measured against her own high standards over a career that has spanned over thirty years, it is slightly lacklustre. Unlike some ageing stars, Joan's lyrics remain "standard", there is little or no social commentary, no words of wisdom and there are no songs in this collection to match her greatest hits of the past. However, neither are there any bad songs!
Pick of the bunch here are the title track, which opens the album, the rocky "Best Dress On", which carries a punch and the closing number, "Cry", for the prettiness of its melody.
So: it's good, but not great.