Lady Sovereign, 'Jigsaw' (Midget/EMI)

Critical Mass
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by Chuck Eddy

In three-plus years, beginning with her 2005 EP Vertically Challenged, sporty U.K. grime-pop shortie Lady Sovereign has released three collections totaling 24 discrete titles. In this age of overproduction, that hardly makes her the most prolific MC around, and a few of the ten-just ten-cuts on her new Jigsaw barely feel like songs at all. "I Got You Dancing" is your token vacant auto-tune toss-off; "Food Play," a half-sexy, half-funny overextended comedy routine about getting kinky with hamburgers and Häagen-Dazs. The album's more emo moments are sung as often as rapped, and mundane enough in their finance-and-romance concerns to convince you the erstwhile Louise Harman is a typically manic-depressive 23-year-old all the way down to her writer's block.

They'll also convince early supporters that she's gone even more lightweight than on 2006's underpraised Public Warning. But Sov's 'iccupping and frog-croak toasting bounce and lunge even when her words fall flat, and when they don't, she's still a hoot: propositioning a fellow herbed-up weirdo of unstated gender in "let's Be Mates," trolling Facebook in her ill-fitting jeans in "I Got the Goods," ch-chinging in "Pennies," igniting class warfare as a high-school dropout among Uni snobs in "Student Union." Sov lets her ponytail down as beats skip from electroclash to ska to grime to dancehall, proving herself one hungry midget indeed.

Listen: Lady Sov, "So Human"

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