Atlantic – 2001 – 47 minutes

The latest contender in the soul sweepstakes arrives in the form of 20-year-old Texan Lina. Swallow the post-Christmas, January gold hype about her debut and you're on your way to the roaring twenties for some breaks and beats, cotton club style. Sort of. When she's driven by the legacy of Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, Lina is a revelation, the decadent grandeur and swooping notes of 'Play No' Mo' and 'I'm Not The Enemy' are new spins on the best of old moves. Too often however, she reverts to the well-worn arrangements and cried-out b-boy tales of her peers – and any album that rhymes 'Schwarzenegger' with 'Go Figure' is some way short of lyrical bliss. There are the sounds of greatness in Lina's voice, but listening to the competition instead of making them listen to her is no game plan. She has a future – but it's way back in the past.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Playa No Mo' – Step Up – Right Place, Wrong Time – Don't Say Nothing – Crazy Love – Batches – I'm Not The Enemy – 3rd Finger Left Hand – You Don't Know – Bye Bye Baby – Waiting – Stranger On Earth