Alice Russell continues to enhance her position as one of the UK's outstanding singers. Collaborations with Quantic and the Quantic Soul Orchestra helped forge Russell's reputation, but it was her compilation album, Under The Munka Moon - featuring collaborations and remixes from the likes of Bah Samba, Kushti, Quantic, Digitek and Plaid - that put her squarely on the map.
A proper solo album entitled My Favourite Letters soon followed, but clearly eager to work outside of regular album framework again, Russell has revisited the Under The Munka Moon template. The thirteen tracks on offer are testament to Russell's talent and her versatility. Russell switches genres with considerable grace and dexterity, all the while aided and abetted by her musical collaborators.
To that end, Russell, with assistance from Nostalgia 77, transforms The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army into a soulful lament; Could Heaven Ever Be Like This by Japanese electronica supremo Susumu Yokota is remodeled by Bugz In The Attic into an unorthodox broken beat number; and the Boub remix of Hurry On Now twists the original into head-nodding, hip-swinging `80s inspired reggae. Elsewhere, DJ Vadim's acclaimed hip hop re-dub of A Fly In The Hand makes a very welcome appearance.
That the tracks on Under The Munka Moon II should mesh together so well, is tribute to Russell's gifts as a singer. Her astounding voice manages to interlace an eclectic and esoteric collection into a quite wonderful whole.
Yet another blinder from Alice, her version of Seven Nation Army alone makes this album worth the money. It was this track that made me listen to her initially and now I own all her albums and happily travel 300 miles to see her in concert! This really is a funky, feelgood album that you will listen to again and again. Once you've heard it you'll only be left with one thought: why hasn't this woman got the recognition she so rightly deserves.