Tanita Tikaram Sentimental (Naive/V2) This could well be something of a comeback album for Tanita Tikaram. Not that the singer, of British and Indian-Fijian descent, ever went away; it's just that her last few albums caused the mildest of critical murmurs. In 1988, at the age of 18, she released her chart-topping, self- written debut album, Ancient Heart, achieving widest recognition with the single Twist in My Sobriety. Now, after a handful of albums that in part experimented with electronic effects, it's back to basics - if a little embellished. This collection of laid-back, folk rock-inspired orchestrated numbers grows and grows. Tikaram's smoky vocal delivery and piano work lend her the delivery that someone such as Diana Krall so often emptily aspires to. But this is no jazz-lite collection. The best comparison to overall sound would be Canadian folk rock outfit Cowboy Junkies meet Joni Mitchell. Folk blues is at the fore in Don't Let the Cold, one of a few female/male duets and one of two that share vocals with veteran British rocker Nick Lowe. It takes a few plays to get into some of the slower ballads, which on first listen sound morose. But the sweet harmonies in tracks such as Forever (a duet with drummer Robert Trehern) eventually burn into the subconscious, with their expertly blended layers of strings, horns, piano, acoustic and electric guitar and lazy percussion. Not an essential album by any means, but infectious and clearly well-crafted.