Estelle, Slo ’Mo Party DJs | Thalia Hall | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader

Estelle, Slo ’Mo Party DJs 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Dec. 19, 9 p.m. 2014

On her forthcoming album True Romance (due in February from Established 1980 Ltd./BMG), British singer Estelle continues to cover all the bases, indulging in a dizzying variety of styles that undercuts the force of a voice that still works best within smoldering R&B. The recent single “Conqueror” is a schlocky power ballad that gets by on the strength of her vocals, which neither falter at full power nor trip over the track’s sentimental melody. Elsewhere on the album Estelle wails over an old-fashioned house beat on “Something Good,” and she gets over-the-top raunchy on “Make Her Say (Beat It Up)”—the “her” refers to her vagina, and she wants it beaten up. On the slow and slinky “The Same” she effectively modulates the volume and intensity of her singing. She also breezes through a trite reggae groove on “She Will Love” and pulls off old-school 70s soul moves on “Silly Girls.” The album juggles indulgence, heartbreak, indignation, and empathy, each of which pairs with a stylistic template. Estelle generally pulls it off, but the album is so all over the place one can’t get much of a sense who the singer really is these days. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25-$300

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