Universal Records - 2003 - 53 minutes

With a style as distinctive as that of Sophie Ellis Bextor, it's hard to be innovative. Her quirky, synthetic voice is the predominant feature on every track, making it difficult to escape from the strong identity that she stamps on her work.

But that's not too bad, for 'Shoot From the Hip' offers a blend of zany and catchy tunes that are certainly on a par with her previous hits. It ranges from down-right bizarre to plain mundane, enlivening love's frustrations and delights and adding a spark to life's journeys.

Upbeat to a fault, this album will make your head spin with its brash sound and lyrics. While there's not much variety amongst the tracks, there is an aggressive edge to some of the material that hasn't really shone through before - 'You Get Yours' has a definite punch.

There is also some refreshing experimentation with Ellis-Bextor's dominant voice; 'The Walls Keep Saying Your Name' has an impressive string accompaniment and male vocals. Similarly, the strong percussion on 'I Won't Dance with You' is a welcome distraction while tracks like 'Mixed Up World' and 'I Won't Change You' are typical of the diva's style and tend to overload on more of the same.

The surprise of the album is a track called 'I Am Not Good at Not Getting What I Want'. It shows a completely different side to Ellis-Bextor, soft vocals that are soothing on the ear. The final track, 'Hello, Hello' delves further into these ballad-like tones, giving an appetising taste of what this album could have become.

Linda McGee

Tracklisting: Making Music - Mixed Up World - I Won't Change You - Nowhere Without You - Another Day - Party In My Head - Love It Is Love - You Get Yours - The Walls Keep Saying Your Name - I Won't Dance Without You - I Am Not Good At Not Getting What I Want - Hello, Hello.