You could never call Nelly Furtado’s career consistent, but it has been consistently surprising: from the chillout pop of her breakout hit from 2000, I’m Like a Bird, to the sexpot grind of Maneater, the Spanish-language album Mi Plan and 2012’s divisive alt-pop outing The Spirit Indestructible. Her comeback is certainly an unexpected ride, bumpily rollercoastering on John Congleton’s eager production, which can tend to be overpowering and overcomplicated. There’s more of the jerky funk sound he created for St Vincent on the opener here Cold Hard Truth, a Gary Numan-does-Goldfrapp feel on Paris Sun, and hints of Sufjan Stevens on Magic; it’s difficult to avoid making endless comparisons when an album feels so miserably storyboarded – the sad fallout of commercial pop that just patchworks trendy styles together. But at least The Rise does so with zeal, and slinky distorto-pop number Right Road hints at something less contrived. Next time, though, I’ll get off at the first stop.
Kate Hutchinson is a freelance culture writer and hosts a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM