That's Why There's Chocolate and Vanilla – 2005 - 49 minutes

Sinéad O'Connor's confusing meander through what now amounts to a lengthy musical career takes another surprising turn, as she enlists reggae legends Sly & Robbie to take a trip through the genre in the form of a covers album of classic reggae tunes.

The vast experience of that musical duo give the album the authenticity that it needs; this is not a Nouvelle Vague-style gimmicky collection of ker-azzy cover versions. Instead it's a sincere, impassioned tribute to music that O'Connor obviously adores.

Her voice and charisma are as stunning as ever, and she manages to avoid any embarrassing faux-Jamaican moments on the microphone, despite sticking firmly to the lyrical patois of the songs.

So, musically 'Throw Down Your Arms' is solid, and the vocals are occasionally brilliant, with the breathy whisper of 'Curly Locks' and the languor of 'Prophet Has Arise' working better than the strident delivery of 'War'.

But despite the quality of all the elements, the result is much less than the sum of its parts. 'Throw Down Your Arms' could have been hideously embarrassing, and to O'Connor's credit, it's far from it. But this puzzling record seems artistically pointless. The only message here is 'Sinéad Loves Reggae'.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Jah Nuh Dead - Marcus Garvey - Door Peep - He Prayed  - Y Mas Gan - Curly Locks - Vampire - Prophet Has Arise - Downpressor Man - Throw Down Your Arms - Untold Stories - War