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Album Review

Laura Izibor, "Let the Truth Be Told"

June 15, 2009
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R&B
Laura Izibor Let the Truth Be Told
Atlantic
ESSENTIAL "Yes (I'll Be Your Lover)"

It seems every year a new female singer emerges from Great Britain with song savvy and a firm grasp of both pop and R&B traditions, and this year's model is Laura Izibor. The 23-year-old Izibor, with her videogenic looks and sharply arranged piano-based tunes, has Alicia Keys potential (emphasis on potential). This is a well-honed, solid set of tracks that showcases Izibor's confident and sweetly soulful voice. She's smart enough to always underplay a lyric either when she's helping a friend through a bad breakup ("The Worst Is Over") or proclaiming her devotion on the funky "Yes (I'll Be Your Lover)." Phony histrionics is not her game here. Now, some may complain that this goes down too smoothly and her Oprah-esque feel-good sentiments on some tracks are too gauzy. But in a miserable world right now, her strength certainly feels right. (And everyone from Keys to Mary J. Blige has embraced the same message, so it can't be that bad, can it?) Izibor strikes an emotional chord with the gospel-inspired "MMM" and plies pop hooks with ease on "From My Heart to Yours" and "Shine." Izibor tells us once again that the truth is in the grooves. (Out tomorrow) KEN CAPOBIANCO