Stranger Than Fiction

by: Ultra Naté

Dancefloor staple Ultra Naté's fourth set employs a varied set of producers and seeks to establish the star as more than just a club singer, and, ultimately, it works. From disco to house to jazz, rock, and folk, this album incorporates a dizzying array of musical styles. Stranger Than Fiction's main drawback is that it lacks a certain cohesiveness but, other than that, it provides for an adventurous musical journey. The album opens with the slick and slinky prologue "Love Is Stranger Than Fiction" (co-written with Nona Hendryx), which also resurfaces as an epilogue, but leaves one wishing that it would have been an actual full-length song, as it is one of the album's more interesting tunes. The album proceeds into dance-oriented territory with the smooth "Ain't Looking for Nothing," the funky, gritty, vocodor-infused "Get It Up (The Feeling)," and the rock-tinged house anthem "Desire." "Dear John" recalls '70s-era disco, at times bringing to mind Love Boat-styled themes, working to fine effect. The album then glides into jazz and garage-infused territory with "Eternal" and "Twisted," and then seems to peter off with the nursery-rhymed stylings of "Breakfast for Two" and the not-so-interesting "I Don't Understand It." The album eventually picks up with the two-step garage song "Gone Like Yesterday" and the set's folky closer, "Ghost" (co-written with N'dea Davenport). As always, Ultra Naté is a skilled songwriter and delivers an album of solid, if at times noncohesive, material. Note that the superior Japanese pressing contains two bonus tracks: "Runaway" and a fantastic cover of the Bee Gees' classic "How Deep Is Your Love." ~ Jose Promis

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