Kelli Ali, best known as the voice behind the Sneaker Pimps’ 1996 debut Becoming X, takes another stab at solo stardom with Psychic Cat, the follow-up to 2003’s Tigermouth. Ali’s solo output has been decidedly more rock-edged than her work with the Pimps—the once-familiar trip-hop-style drum programming is padded with layers of compressed electric guitars and goth-pop imagery. The ambient ballad “In Praise Of Shadows,” “Grafitti Boy,” which could have been a track on Gwen Stefani’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby., and the title track, with its dirgy backbeat and acoustic guitars, should sate fans of the Pimps’ surprisingly durable Becoming X (much of that album still sounds fresh in ‘05—drop a few tracks, particularly the mod-rock hit “6 Underground” and “Walking Zero,” onto your iPod and see how they fare next to newer material like Ashanti’s “Only U” or Amber’s “You Move Me”). But as a whole, Psychic Cat is a little too cohesive for its own good…in a low-budget home-studio kind of way. The socially conscious “Speakers” is admirable but the lyrics are contrived at best: “It’s time to stand up and start speakin’/Yeah shake up the devil you’re keepin’.” Ali would be better off using her feline powers for evil.
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