Back to Scratch
Charlotte Church has a range of talents, from singing to presenting to being Welsh. Naming albums clearly isn’t one of them. Tissues and Issues was a cringe enema of a title, but Back to Scratch is surely Church’s own Quantum Of Solace, managing to be baffling and cheesy at the same time. Church should right now be sending a bouquet to X Factor siren/parasite magnet Cheryl Cole to thank her for eclipsing this flight of ridiculousness with her own Messy Little Teardrops.
Unfortunately (for fans of atonal harpsichord gabba), the music on Back to Scratch doesn’t display the same unfettered approach to logic as the title. The tracks on here are all serviceable pop cutlets, although they’re lacking in the zeitgeistian sparkle that you’d expect from a Xenomania or a Dr Luke. And, despite her competent performances, the odd thing is that, despite years of training and experience, Church doens’t seem to have found her voice. The material veers from Mariah-ish lungbuster ballads (‘The Actors’) to slinkier R&B efforts (‘Ruby And Snow’) to some kind of pseudo-country thing that’s best forgotten (‘Cup of the Sun’). As a result, it’s hard to get a handle on where Church is coming from, and the album lacks a real sense of identity – which, given that Church’s career is largely propelled by her personality, is the one problem it really shouldn’t have.