Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
4:15 AM 30th October 2021

Album Review Roundup: Claire Laffut - Bleu & Tori Amos -Ocean to Ocean

Bleu - Claire Laffut: MDMA; Sororité; Vertige; Hiroshima; Adrénaline; Vérité; Étrang Mélange; Nudes (ft. yseult); Osmos; Avis de tempête; Mojo; Tombée dans un rêve; Et j’ai ri

Claire Laffut is destined to be the next big Belgian artist on the international stage. With Angèle, Loïc Nottet and Blanche all enjoying acclaim around the world, the face of Chanel's Gabrielle campaign has finally released her début album after a string of increasingly popular single and EP releases. But with the music world watching closely, can Bleu fulfil the promise of her early releases?

5 Stars
Bleu is everything you'd anticipate and so much more. Laffut is an artist who has pop sensibilities married with her distinctive creative flair. While the album inspired by the colour blue, which Laffut loves intensely, it is also named after the Belgian-ism, I am blue of you, which equates to I love you. However, this is not just a simple love record, but when it is, it is about the addictive nature of the feeling we all crave. With former singles Hiroshima, MDMA and Adrenaline showcasing the strongest love-fuelled moments, this is an album that knows how deliver a killer hook while packing an emotional punch.

Fuelled by personal insight and social observations, with Latin / Afro rhythms underpinning her sound, Laffut merges the occasional melancholic moment with a need to dance. As débuts go, Bleu is up there with the finest.

Tori Amos Ocean to Ocean
Addition of Light Divided; Speaking with Trees; Devil's Bane; Swim to New York State; Spies; Ocean to Ocean; Flowers Burn to Gold; Metal Water Wood; 29 Years; How Glass Is Made; Birthday Bab;
4 Stars

Tori Amos has inspired a whole generation of artists. With the thirtieth anniversary of her début solo album, Little Earthquakes, just one year away, she shows on her 16th studio album, Ocean to Ocean, that she is able to draw on the past and present to craft a compelling and luminescent collection. Written and recorded during lockdown in Cornwall, she has declared Ocean to Ocean as a truly personal collection, the album is fuelled by the craving to be back on the road, while simultaneously celebrating her lush surrounds.

Having spent her early career drawing comparisons to Kate Bush, it is inevitable that on her first album since 2017's Native Inavder, that these comparisons will once again rear their head. For many this is a stark positive, with Ocean to Ocean proving a return to the sonic realms of her first few albums.

Ocean to Ocean captures the essence of how we have all felt over the last long two years. As the US native hankers longingly for home turf on the romantic Swim To New York State, it is in the haunting Flowers Burn To Gold and stunning Metal Water Wood that the albums shines the brightest.

A compelling return to form from one of the brightest musical stars out there.