Santogold - Santogold (Lizard King Records)

While Santi White's image is so hip it makes you wince, her songwriting chops are solid - and her hooks, catchy.

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You know you're about to make it when Mark Ronson approaches you for a collaboration, so the Philadelphia-born Santogold alter ego Santi White must have had a presentiment of her imminent stardom when he asked her to co-pen a song for Lily Allen. Her own cover of The Jam's Pretty Green for Ronson's 2007 album Version got her on all the acts-to-watch lists. But while her image is so hip it makes you wince, White's songwriting chops are solid - she gave up her job as an A&R girl to write for neo-soul act Res and play in the punk band Stiffed (produced by Bad Brains alumnus Daryl Jenifer), and has even written with the mainstream likes of Ashlee Simpson and Pharrell Williams. Mixing up that melodic pop sensibility with post-punk bass (courtesy of the Stiffed bassist John Hill), yelping vocals and spare electro-tinged arrangements, she has come up with a catchy, irresistible and utterly credible album. The moodiness of the Pixies and The Cure, New Wave synth soundscapes, a willful, sulky voice reminiscent of Blondie and the ska-lite basslines of The Specials and The Beat smooth the edges of that M.I.A.-style aggression, yet however many influences you hear, this album ultimately sounds like only one artist: Santogold.