As the lead singer of Saint Etienne, Sarah Cracknell has long enjoyed critical acclaim and cult-superstar status on both sides of the Atlantic. But it wasn't until the release of 1998's superb Good Humour that she came into her own as a singer and songwriter, co-writing every song on the album and singing with delicacy and assurance. On her first solo album, Cracknell picks up where that record left off while still delivering plenty of disco anthems that wouldn't feel out of place on Saint Etienne's first three albums. In its ability to inject dance music with copious intelligence, taste, and craft, Saint Etienne, alongside its spiritual kin in Pet Shop Boys, helped give modern-day disco a good name. Cracknell's fondness for guilt-free disco is still evident on Lipslide, as "Desert Baby" and "Coastal Town" prove once again that disco can be smart and sophisticated without sacrificing force or catchiness. Elsewhere, she flirts with bossa nova (on the lovely "Oh Boy, The Feeling When You Held My Hand") and upscale pop ("Anymore," "Home") with generally excellent results. If Lipslide never reaches the euphoric highs of Saint Etienne's best work, it still marks Cracknell as a tremendously gifted performer, both with her group and as a confident and consistent solo artist.

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