Picks and Pans Review: Jem

UPDATED 09/22/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/22/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

Down to Earth

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ALT-POP
On her full-length debut, 2004's Finally Woken, Jem sparkled with her trip-hop pop. On this follow-up, the Welsh singer-songwriter seems determined to show just how multifaceted she is musically. Down to Earth expands her sonic horizons to include funk and gospel, Latin and African influences. She even goes so far as to rock the mike in Japanese on "Aciiid!," a tripped-up attempt at electro hip-hop. But Jem is still at her best with the chill grooves and cool allure of songs like "Got It Good" and the title cut.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "It's Amazing," a lilting piano-laced reverie

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