I still believe Gossip were one of the most underrated bands of the 2000’s and that their fourth studio album “Music For Men” was one of the best records released in 2009. A big call because pop was over saturated with brilliant tracks but 8 years later I still proudly know every word to “Heavy Cross” and “Love Long Distance”. But back to 2017 and Gossip front-woman Beth Ditto has just released her debut album. This isn’t the first time she’s attempted to kickstart a solo career. In 2011 she released an EP that saw her going towards an electronic sound but after being met with dismal reviews she went back to the drawing board. “Fake Sugar” is a collection of rock meets soul meets blues influenced tracks with shiny pop moments. Basically it’s all over the place socially but its not totally messy. Opening with the blues/garage grunge “Fire” I wasn’t impressed and nervous to keep listening because the first impressions I was met with weren’t great. But it got a lot better. Driven by a strumming guitar “In And Out” delivered a familiar sound you were used to with a catchy hook that made you want to sing along. “Fake Sugar” and “Savoir Faire” give you a dreamy 50’s inspired production that perfectly lead into the quirky pop meets rock anthems “Oo La La”, “Oh My God” and “Do You Want Me To” which is the Beth Ditto standard sound you’re already acquainted with. “We Could Run” is the first “OMG” moment on the record. The big “I GET IT” track. It just has this raw emotion with a big hook and driven by guitars and a solid drum beat. It’s the pop/rock sound she was always destined to deliver. “Love in Real Life” is the second one with it’s intimate lounge ballad production that had me entranced from the first line. “Lover” quickly followed this feeling and had me wishing she finished on this track. Instead “Clouds” anti climatically closes this album providing one of the few skippable moments on this collection next to “Go Baby Go” and “Fire”. While this album may not be flawless it is a strong debut from one of the most distinguishable voices in music. She gives you all the emotion, fire and quirks from Gossip that had you in love with them but still manages to make it her own so its distinguishable as a solo record. Don’t go into this expecting sassy tracks like Gossip cause you won’t entirely find that. “Fake Sugar” is a mature collection of tracks that showcases her songwriting abilities and sees her evolving as an artist with a few minor hiccups along the way.