BMG - 2003 - 51 minutes

Lyrically and musically Dido's 'Life For Rent' is a treat, the purity of her songwriting and voice a welcome relief in a overproduced music industry.

The distinctive vocals of Dido prove unrivalled in this hotly awaited album that already boasts a chart-climber in 'White Flag'. The collection of songs on 'Life For Rent' are firmly stamped with Dido's unique sultry voice, yet the apprehension that this powerful element could make the album static proves completely unfounded after just a single listen.

The diverse nature of the tracks offers a chance to explore more of Dido's vocal range, placing her on a podium of songwriting excellence and firmly casting off lingering public perception of her as just a duet artist.

In 'Life For Rent' she gives us a glimpse of pure inspired Dido, most of the tracks self-penned, beautifully exploring the ordinary tribulations of everyday life. Simplicity is the key to this album, both in theme and production.

Refreshingly, the ballads are interposed with offerings like 'What Makes You Feel' just as the style of the album begins to feel a little too comfortable. Also with the upbeat urban 'Sand In My Shoes', Dido offers an acoustic alternative, providing a welcome variety within the album.

There is also an unmistakable vibe of confidence on this album, a more self-assured package than her previous album. Dido injects each of the tracks with an infectious and vivacious tone although the pitch of many of the songs is remarkably similar.

Indeed her unrivalled style sets her apart from any other contemporary artist on the music scene today. Dido's ability to combine soft soulful melodies with blisteringly strong vocal ranges puts her in a league of her own.

Linda McGee

Tracklisting: White Flag - Stoned - Life For Rent - Mary's In India - See You When You're 40 - Don't Leave Home - Who Makes You Feel - Sand In My Shoes - Do You Have a Little Time - This Land Is Mine - See The Sun