A Joyful Noise - Gossip
They've dropped the article from the band name and picked up a synthesizer instead. Beth Ditto still boasts powerful pipes, but the punky soulful sound that characterized the band when they were The Gossip has been replaced on their new album, A Joyful Noise, by a decidedly disco pop bent.
With a few exceptions (Into the Wild, Casualties of War), the use of synth is kind of overbearing, as though each song were competing to be more anthemic than the last. There's nothing wrong with an anthemic song, of course, and Ditto certainly has the lungs to belt out an anthem, but a little restraint would have been refreshing.
I'm not sure if anything would have helped the lyrics though. Repetitive and vapid, they begin to grate at about the halfway mark of each song. The worst offender is Get a Job, which attempts to delve into Pulp territory without any of the snarling subversion or venom of Common People, and with a chorus that is just plain annoying.
A Joyful Noise can actually be enjoyable on some levels. It's certainly dancy, and if you can get past the lyrics and the relentless synth, it will get you up on the dance floor. I see it being a good fit at clubs or weddings, but I am not sure it bears repeated listening at home.