Zaz ‘Effet Miroir’ 2LP/CD (Warner/Play On/Jo&Co) 3/5

This seventh album from French singer Zaz (Isabelle Geffroy) sadly pales in comparison to the promising debut with the cheeky girlish sounding voice and the new all original set panders, to these ears at least, far too much to mainstream rock norms rather than charting out her own distinctive territory as in the previous recording. The second half of the album in particular veers towards clichéd rock-guitar tinges and, in the process, confuses her natural and potentially large audience. Where the music does work is on the more traditional chanson of ‘Mes Souvenirs De Toi’, with piano and light percussive accompaniment, or on the combination of piano and strings that follows Zaz on ‘Demain C’est Toi’. Arguably, for new inspiration, Zaz might be better served recording a live context, where her outgoing personality comes across better, rather than somewhat less than successful attempts at replicating others. That is the case for example on, ‘Toute Ma Vie’, which is little more than rock music with a Motown beat while Zaz’s attempt to enter into Spanish language territory, ‘Qué me viendra’, sounds like cod-flamenco and is at best a half-hearted attempt that should be dispensed with. However, when Zaz returns to more familiar songs such as ‘Ma Valse’, she does prove to be a proficient communicator.

Tim Stenhouse