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Stylin' Up

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Album Review

Christine Anu is a young Australian with aborigine blood doing a modern dance/urban pop mix with plenty of sassy attitude that recalls Neneh Cherry's buffalo stance. Stylin' Up is an intriguing disc that makes clear Anu lines up far closer to Cherry's tough, positive assertion of female identity than any kind of fabricated ethnic exotic spice girl, but there's a sketchiness to some material that leaves it uneven and sometimes frustrating. The opening "Wanem Time" is almost like a new folk-punk anthem with plenty of energetic acoustic guitar but Anu's more typical sound is keyboards creating moody atmosphere over a chunky drum beat with hip-hop influences that first provides the drive to "San E Wireless." The Cherry connection vocally starts becoming clear on "Come On" and it really hits home with the "Steppin' out in my deadly red shoes" opening line to "Party," a party anthem with rowdy lead guitar and rock-oriented verses that are actually far catchier than the chorus. That spottiness is mystifying and why listening to Anu can be frustrating — it's like she either can't convincingly nail down an entire song or doesn't really want to. She seems most focused on creating moods and atmospheres like "Tama Ome" or the closing "Sik O" but then "Monkey & The Turtle" and "Rain" are just nondescript workouts in hip hop and raggamuffin mode, respectively. "Dive" celebrates the sensual aspects of being a water person while the title track is a girl life song with a percolating deep bassline and guitar wah-wahs used with dub drop-in-and-out principles (sort of) along with a catchy chorus and an incongruous trumpet. And the track to "Love That Heals" sounds so familiar you'd swear you've already heard it here before but nope — it's just that her best songs all seem to work off or imply that groove. So why doesn't Anu just ride what fits her like a glove instead of hitting it now and then and go shooting off on generally less successful tangents? Beats me, so Stylin' Up is up-and-down and really hard to figure but the assertive and intriguing aspects of what Christine Anu is up to — her kangaroo stance? — wins out in the end.

Customer Reviews

Smooth bruz

Deadly as this sister girl


Born: 1970 in Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Christine Anu is Australia's premier urban-style pop singer. She was born in 1970 in Cairns, Queensland. Her mother's people were from Saibai Island, just off the south coast of Papua New Guinea. Her father came from Mabuiag Island, closer to the center of Torres Strait. The family had found its way to Queensland decades earlier. Christine Anu's connection with her family heritage was the times her father pulled out his guitar, put down the mats on the veranda of the family home, and encouraged a...
Full Bio
Stylin' Up, Christine Anu
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